Fitbit Faces Lawsuit from its Biggest Competitor Jawbone Ahead of IPO
According to a report by The New York Times, Fitbit has been sued by its biggest competitor Jawbone, who alleges that the former has been stealing information and confidential data by hiring its workers. The maker of wearable health trackers, including the latest Charge, Charge HR and the Surge, earlier this month filed for an initial public offering (IPO) to apparently take advantage of the huge demand for wearable devices.
The lawyers for Jawbone have written in their complaint that the case arises out of the “clandestine efforts of Fitbit to steal talent, trade secrets and intellectual property from its chief competitor”. The complaint also claims that recruiters for Fitbit contacted nearly one-third of Jawbone’s employees early this year, who before leaving the company, downloaded sensitive information like Jawbone’s current and future business plans and products.
According to the court filing, Jawbone’s former employees used thumb drives to download files and used programs to cover their tracks or deleted system logs, before joining Fitbit.
“One now-former employee, Ana Rosario, was hired by Fitbit as a user experience researcher around April 16 but did not disclose that she planned to leave Jawbone until April 22, the complaint said. On April 20, according to the complaint, Ms. Rosario held a meeting with Jawbone’s senior director of product management to discuss the company’s future plans and then downloaded what the company said was a “playbook” outlining its future products”.
As a response to the court filing, Fitbit has issued the following statement:
“As the pioneer and leader in the connected health and fitness market, Fitbit has no need to take information from Jawbone or any other company. We are unaware of any confidential or proprietary information of Jawbone in our possession and we intend to vigorously defend against these allegations”.
Jawbone is now seeking financial damages as well as relief from the court to prevent the former employees from using stolen information.