Fitbit Wins First Round In Ongoing Fight With Jawbone
Fitbit has come out on top in the first round, after a major spat with arch rival Jawbone, though the fight is not over yet.
In a ruling released late on Friday night, the U.S. International Trade Commission invalidated the last of the patents that Jawbone said its rival Fitbit had infringed.
The move lifts the uncertainty around the sale of Fitbit products who Jawbone has constantly claimed impacted upon their patents for monitoring technology.
The invalidated patents covered sleep monitoring and data output.
Judge Dee Lord said these patents “seek a monopoly on the abstract ideas of collecting and monitoring sleep and other health-related data, and are therefore ineligible.”
Jawbone filed their complaint last July, they sought to halt U.S. imports of Fitbit’s wearable devices.
The ITC said Jawbone could still pursue claims that Fitbit allegedly stole trade secrets.
“The two patents that are the subject of the ITC ruling represent only a portion of Jawbone’s case against Fitbit and a small subset of Jawbone’s overall patent portfolio,” Jawbone said in a statement.
The company said it plans to appeal the patent ruling.
Fitbit declined to comment.
Judge Lord based the ruling on a Supreme Court decision from 2014 that said companies can’t claim software patents for abstract ideas without inventive concepts. She previously ruled other Jawbone patents were invalid for the same reason.
The two companies are also suing each other in other courts. Jawbone sued Fitbit for patent infringement in federal court in San Francisco in 2015. Fitbit has also sued Jawbone in federal courts in San Francisco and Wilmington, Del., for allegedly infringing its patents over the technology underpinning its device. The cases are pending.
On May 9, the two sides will meet at the trade commission for a hearing about Jawbone’s trade secrets. Jawbone alleged that Fitbit implemented a plan last year to “decimate Jawbone by hiring away key employees and stealing trade secrets.”
Jawbone said Fitbit contacted an estimated 30% of Jawbone’s workers and ultimately hired five, who then allegedly took 18,000 of Jawbone’s confidential digital files to Fitbit.