Judge Clears Fitbit Of Allegations That It Stole Trade Secrets From Rival Jawbone

Image courtesy of Van Swearingen

The fight between rival fitness tracker companies Fitbit and Jawbone may finally be put to rest, after a judge cleared the former of stealing trade secrets from the latter.

U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Sandra Dee Lord cleared Fitbit and its contract manufacturer, Flextronics, of allegations that the brand’s activity trackers were made using trade secrets pilfered from Jawbone, Bloomberg reports.

“No party has been shown to have misappropriated any trade secret,” the judge said a notice, with the full findings due to become public after both sides have an opportunity to redact confidential information, like, you know, trade secrets.

It’s no surprise that this is good news for Fitbit.

“From the outset of this litigation, we have maintained that Jawbone’s allegations were utterly without merit and nothing more than a desperate attempt by Jawbone to disrupt Fitbit’s momentum to compensate for their own lack of success in the market,” James Park, Fitbit’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

But Jawbones says the ITC case only pertained to “a very small subset of Jawbone’s trade secrets,” and it will ask the commission to review the findings. It said it is “continuing to pursue its much broader trade secret case” against Fitbit in state court.

“Jawbone is confident it will prevail when the full scope of its claims is heard by the jury,” the company said in a statement.

Back in May 2015, Jawbone filed a complaint against Fitbit in California State Court claiming that its rival was “systematically plundering” confidential information, after hiring Jawbone employees who’d downloaded sensitive material before leaving.

“This case arises out of the clandestine efforts of Fitbit to steal talent, trade secrets and intellectual property from its chief competitor,” lawyers for Jawbone wrote.

But Fitbit said its position at the head of the pack, so far as activity trackers go, meant it had no motivation to steal.

“As the pioneer and leader in the connected health and fitness market, Fitbit has no need to take information from Jawbone or any other company.”

The findings are subject to review by the full commission. But if they are finalized, it means the trade commission can put an import ban on any products in question. Even then, however, an import ban is subject to presidential review.

Fitbit Wins First Round in Jawbone Trade Secrets Case [Bloomberg]

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