Jawbone and Fitbit, both billion-dollar leaders in the “wearable” technology category of fitness bands, are warming up for what may become a test of legal endurance. Jawbone recently filed three lawsuits in three different courts, accusing Fitbit of infringing patents, poaching employees, and stealing trade secrets. Although Fitbit has not yet hit back with its own suit, the two rivals seem poised to start a lengthy legal battle.
The first complaint, filed in California state court in May, accuses Fitbit of trying to “decimate” Jawbone by luring its employees and taking its trade secrets. The second complaint, filed in California federal court shortly before Fitbit’s initial public offering in June, accuses Fitbit of infringing three patents covering fitness software technologies. And the third complaint, filed in the International Trade Commission in July, accuses Fitbit of infringing six patents covering fitness software and hardware technologies.
If the litigation strategy proves successful for Jawbone, it could seriously impact Fitbit’s market share. Yet, if Fitbit strikes back with its large portfolio of over 200 patents, Jawbone could also suffer repercussions.