Jawbone wins legal victory against rival Fitbit
A judge ordered five employees of the wearable-device maker Fitbit Inc. to return confidential information they took from rival Jawbone, an early legal victory for Jawbone in a battle alleging stolen trade secrets.
Jawbone has accused Fitbit of hiring away five of Jawbone’s employees, who then allegedly took confidential information from Jawbone and brought it to Fitbit. Jawbone’s May lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court described “a carefully orchestrated plan to abscond with reams of proprietary and confidential information regarding the intricacies of Jawbone’s business.”
A San Francisco judge ruled in a preliminary injunction on Tuesday that Jawbone would likely win its argument that its former employees violated their contracts with Jawbone. The judge ruled the workers must return data they took from Jawbone and allow an independent audit of their computers and online accounts to search for any copies.
Fitbit said in an email that “the hearing was focused on the exchange of information between Jawbone and its former employees and has no impact on Fitbit.” Fitbit has denied Jawbone’s accusations.
Jawbone, which is incorporated as Aliphcom Inc. and makes wearable devices and portable speakers, has argued that its former employees purposefully took company data when they went to work for Fitbit. Jawbone said in court documents last week that Fitbit returned 18,000 documents that were taken from Jawbone in an effort to avoid an audit of its employees’ files.
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.