A US International Trade Commission judge determined wearable track device maker, Fitbit, did not steal trade secrets from rival Jawbone. The verdict came on Tuesday, and it puts an end to Jawbone’s aims of getting an import ban against Fitbit’s products.
Judge Dee Lord, who issued the ruling, said Fitbit didn’t violate the Tariff Act as she concluded that neither Jawbone or Fitbit misappropriated any trade secret. If that were the case, then the commission would have the power to block Fitbit products that infringed U.S. intellectual property.
Fitbit CEO, James Park, said in a statement he was pleased with the judge’s decision. From the beginning of the investigation, Park was sure Jawbone’s allegations had no base and were just a desperate attempt to disrupt his company’s momentum.
On the other hand, a Jawbone spokeswoman said in a statement that its company would seek a review of the ruling before the full commission.
She also claimed Jawbone would pursue a broader case against Fitbit in California state court because they were sure to prevail when the jury hears the whole story.
Jawbone filed three lawsuits against Fitbit in 2015
The two wearable tech companies are fierce competitors in the market and also in the courtroom since 2015 when Jawbone filed three lawsuits against Fitbit.
Jawbone claimed in its suit that Fitbit deliberately lured five of its employees to gain knowledge of Jawbone’s dealings.
The maker of the ‘Up’ activity trackers alleged the workers in question copied internal Jawbone documents at the request of Fitbit. The data contained trade secrets such as Jawbone’s upcoming product lineup, supply chain, revenue and product costs.
Jawbone’s lawsuit identified the employees and accused them of breaching their confidentiality agreements. Plus, according to a forensic analysis ordered by Jawbone, some of them used USB thumb drives and others even called for a meeting to discuss the company’s plans for the future days before leaving to Fitbit.
Fitbit is winning the race for the best fitness tracker in the market
Jawbone was the dominant maker of wearable devices before the appearance of Fitbit in 2007. Last year, Fitbit sales rose 142 percent to $745.4 million, sold 11 million devices and captured 68% of the activity tracker market.
Meanwhile, Jawbone’s market share dropped to 19% by 2013, without further reports about it since then.
Jawbone is not only competing against arch-rivals Fitbit, the likes of Pebble, Samsung, LG, Microsoft and most importantly the Apple Watch, which became the best-selling wearable device with 4.2 million smartwatches shipped in 2015.