Update: Jawbone has filed its second lawsuit against Fitbit in less than two weeks, claiming its activity tracking products infringe several of Jawbone's patents.
The new suit, filed Wednesday in San Francisco by Jawbone parent company AliphCom, seeks unspecified damages and an injunction to block the sale of Fitbit devices such as the Flex, Charge and Surge bands.
Late last month, Jawbone filed another lawsuit, accusing Fitbit of poaching its employees and stealing trade secrets. Fitbit has said it has no knowledge of any such information in its possession.
In its latest complaint, Jawbone says it will also ask the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate Fitbit, which could potentially lead to an import ban on Fitbit products.
Jawbone says it has hundreds of patents granted or pending, and claims that Fitbit infringes several of them. One patent describes a "general health and wellness management method and apparatus for a wellness application using data from a data-capable band."
Another patent covers a "system for detecting, monitoring, and reporting an individual's physiological or contextual status."
In response Fitbit said, “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 vigorously defend itself against these allegations.”
The timing is bad for Fitbit, which is preparing to go public on the U.S. stock markets. It also faces intense competition from a number of rivals, which also include Garmin and Apple with its Apple Watch.
Both Jawbone and Fitbit make wearable bands and associated software that tracks people's movement, exercise, sleep and heart rate.
This legal action follows last month's filing by Jawboneof court papers claiming that from the beginning of this year, Fitbit recruiters contacted about 30 percent of Jawbone's employees and induced at least five employees to join the company.
The new Fitbit hires allegedly accessed and downloaded from their work computers information about Jawbone's current and projected business plans, products and technology. Confidential information was transferred out on USB thumb drives or to personal email accounts, according to a copy of the complaint published by The Verge.
The aim, according to an unnamed Fitbit recruiter, cited in the complaint, was to "decimate" Jawbone. Both companies are based in San Francisco.
Last month, Marty Reaume, Fitbit's chief people officer, in an unsolicited call to her counterpart at Jawbone is said to have agreed that her company was poaching Jawbone employees. She claimed there was nothing untoward about it, and did not refer to the alleged theft of trade secrets and related charges, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit comes ahead of a Fitbit's plan for an initial public offering.
Fitbit said in a regulatory filing related to the IPO earlier this month that it sold 10.9 million devices in 2014, up from 4.5 million in 2013. It quoted the NPD Group in that document as stating that it holds the leading position in the U.S. fitness activity tracker market, with a 68 percent share, by U.S. dollars, in 2014.
In its complaint Wednesday in the Superior Court of the State of California for the county of San Francisco, Jawbone said other persons may also be involved, but it didn't know their true identities as of now.
Jawbone has asked the court to order financial damages as well as to stop the former employees from disclosing further trade secrets, and block Fitbit from using the secrets.
Fitbit did not immediately comment on the lawsuit. Jawbone said it could not comment on legal cases.
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