Jawbone Sues Fitbit Again, This Time for Patent Infringement

In late May, Jawbone filed its first lawsuit against Fitbit, alleging data theft by poached employees. Now Jawbone is suing again on patent grounds.

Jawbone, Fitbit, lawsuit, patent infringement, data theft, wearables, fitness bands, health tracking

Fitness and health band maker Jawbone is again suing its rival Fitbit—this time alleging patent infringement—just two weeks after filing suit against the company for data theft.

The latest lawsuit alleges that Fitbit infringed on Jawbone patents and seeks an injunction to stop Fitbit sales, according to a June 10 report in The Wall Street Journal. The three-count, 164-page lawsuit was filed in United States District Court in the Northern District of California.

In its suit, Jawbone alleges that Fitbit infringed on its 2013 patent for a "wellness application using data from a data-capable band" and has used the resulting technology in some of its own products, including Fitbit's Zip, One, Flex, Charge, Charge HR and Surge.

Jawbone also alleges Fitbit infringements of patents for a "system for detecting, monitoring and reporting an individual's physiological or contextual status" and for a patent for a "system for monitoring and managing body weight and other physiological conditions, including iterative and personalized planning, intervention and reporting capability," according to the lawsuit.

Some of the technologies that Fitbit allegedly infringed upon became Jawbone's property when Jawbone's parent company, AliphCom, acquired BodyMedia for more than $100 million in April 2013, according to the latest lawsuit.

Jawbone's lawsuit also states that AliphCom and BodyMedia plan to file a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) that asks the agency to investigate whether Fitbit's "unlawful importation" of products that allegedly infringe on Jawbone's patents violates Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. "The ITC complaint will include some or all of the patents and accused products asserted in this district court action," the company states.

In response to an emailed inquiry from eWEEK, Fitbit said in a statement that it "has independently developed and delivered innovative product offerings to empower its customers to lead healthier, more active lives" as a maker of health and fitness bands and other products. "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."

A Jawbone spokesman declined to comment beyond the company's latest lawsuit.

This second lawsuit comes at a pivotal time for Fitbit, which earlier in May filed for an initial public offering. The company has been in the business of creating and selling a full line of health-tracking and fitness bands since 2007.

In late May, Jawbone filed its first lawsuit against Fitbit that alleges that the company hired away some Jawbone employees who then took confidential corporate information with them to their new jobs. The lawsuit, also filed in California State Court in San Francisco, alleged that Fitbit was stealing workers, trade secrets and intellectual property from Jawbone.

Jawbone sells its line of Up Move, Up2 and Up3 fitness trackers, as well as Jambox wireless speakers and headsets. Its latest Up4 fitness tracker also includes a built-in American Express electronic payments system.