Jawbone Sues Fitbit Over Trade Secrets
Let’s face it—the Jawbone and the Fitbit are pretty similar in looks, function and price. Both are wearable devices that track the user’s activities including steps, calories and sleep. Now Jawbone is claiming that the Fitbit is a little too similar and is taking its case to court.
In the third lawsuit filed in the last two months against Fitbit, Jawbone charges that its competition stole trade secrets by poaching employees. Jawbone claims that earlier this year Fitbit lured away approximately 30% of its workforce to glean inside information about the company’s inner workings like upcoming products and supply chain. This latest lawsuit requests that the International Trade Commission stop Fitbit from importing its products into the United States.
Fitbit flatly denied the charges, releasing this statement through a spokesperson: “As the pioneer and leader in the connected health and fitness market, Fitbit has independently developed and delivered innovative product offerings to empower its customers to lead healthier, more active lives. Since its inception, Fitbit has more than 200 issued patents and patent applications in this area. Fitbit plans to defend itself vigorously against all allegations made in the complaint to the International Trade Commission.”
The ITC has 15 months to deliver a ruling although a cease-and-desist order could be handed down at an time. Meanwhile, just about every technology brand that hasn’t already released a wearable fitness device is working on one, so the market will get even more crowded over those 15 months.
Although both Fitbit and Jawbone are likely to have a very prosperous holiday season this year, many users are losing enthusiasm for their fitness bands. The research firm Endeavor Partners estimated that about a third of fitness trackers are abandoned by their owners after only six months.
Is there enough room in the wearable market for both Jawbone and Fitbit? Only time (and the ITC) will tell.