Jawbone is taking legal action against fitness band rival Fitbit, stating that it made efforts to “steal talent, trade secrets and intellectual property from its chief competitor”.
Noting that Fitbit is in the process of preparing for an initial public offering, Jawbone said that the actions are a tacit acknowledgement that “it lacked the proprietary technology, capabilities and expertise to progress to the next generation in a rapidly changing technology space”.
The suit said that from early this year, Fitbit approached “an estimated 30 per cent” of Jawbone’s workforce, with “at least five” subsequently joining. These employees had access to key aspects of Jawbone’s business and the future direction of its market and business.
Specifically, it said that “the new additions to Fitbit’s workforce gained access to and download from their work computers information regarding Jawbone’s current and projected business plans, products and technology”.
Indeed, it alleged that one of those involved specifically sought a confidential meeting to discuss “all aspects of the future direction of the company, how it anticipated the market unfolding in the future and its product designs and prototypes”. A number of employees used USB drives to “steal proprietary company information”, while others sent details to personal email accounts, and steps were also taken to conceal this, Jawbone said.
It continued: “Judicial intervention is required not only to hold Fitbit and the other defendants responsible for their concerted campaign of misconduct and the hundreds of millions of dollars that Jawbone has been and will be damaged as a result of their conduct, but also to prevent any further irreparable harm that will result from the continued misappropriation of Jawbone’s confidential and proprietary information”.