In September 2015 Fitbit- one of the market leaders in the fitness tracking wearables domain, initiated patent infringement proceedings against Jawbone and its subsidiary, BodyMedia. Fitbit’s lawsuit concerns alleged infringement of three patents. The first was issued in December 2014 and is a patent for “Methods of Detecting and Recording Physical Activity of Person”. The following two which were issued in May 2015 are patents for “Notifications on a User Device Based on Activity Detected By An Activity Monitoring Device”, and “Biometric Monitoring Device With Heart Rate Measurement Activated By A Single User Gesture.”
Fitbit claim that Jawbone’s UP Move, UP24, UP2, UP3, and UP4 and the UP software interface infringes the aforementioned patents.
The Fitbit-Jawbone spat first began in May 2015; this corresponded with Fitbit filing for an IPO. Jawbone filed a suit alleging that Fitbit had poached employees who prior to leaving Jawbone had downloaded sensitive and confidential information about the company. Fitbit denied these claims.
In June 2015 a second lawsuit followed. This concerned alleged infringement of three patents that Jawbone obtained in 2013, following the acquisition of BodyMedia.
In July 2015 it was reported that Jawbone was attempting to get the US International Trade Commission to block Fitbit’s imports into the US.
In the countersuit which has been filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Jawbone denies all allegations of infringement made by Fitbit. The case has been described as a “frivolous” misuse of Fitbit patents.
The counterclaim states “Fitbit is knowingly and wilfully misusing its patents as part of its effort protect its market power”, it continues “Both in this case and in a concurrently filed case in Delaware, Fitbit alleges that Jawbone infringes three of its patents. The infringement allegations in both lawsuits are plainly meritless and Fitbit has no reasonable basis for bringing either case.”
In a separate statement Jawbone states that it is continuing to pursue three of its own prior legal actions against Fitbit over its own claims of patent infringement; stolen trade secrets; and an ITC injunction.
Fitbit has responded with the following statement; “We have been able to successfully compete in a competitive market by providing consumers with products they want at price points they find attractive”, the statement continues “these allegations are unfounded and yet another misguided attempt for publicity in order to deflect attention from Jawbone’s own lack of performance. Fitbit’s primary focus is and continues to be on delivering innovative products and services that empower people around the world to reach their health and fitness goals.”