Fitbit scored a victory in a trade dispute against Jawbone this morning, with a judge ruling that some of the Jawbone patents at the heart of the dispute were invalid. Jawbone had been seeking to block Fitbit from importing its products into the US based on the patent claims, but after today's ruling that looks less likely.
Bloomberg News reported the ruling earlier this morning.
The official court filing states that the claims on certain patents "seek a monopoly on the abstract ideas of collecting and monitoring sleep and other health-related data," and are therefore ineligible.
"No innovating concept is claimed in either patent. Specifically with respect to systems for organizing human activity, the courts have determined that a patent is not eligible when it claims the use of computer technology to accomplish tasks that were in the past performed by human beings," the filing states.
"No innovative concept is claimed in either patent."
Jawbone last year slapped Fitbit with a series of lawsuits, ranging from a trade secret suit to patent infringement claims. The trade secret case, which alleged that Fitbit poached Jawbone employees who had downloaded confidential information and brought it over to Fitbit, is still being examined, according to the Bloomberg report.
Jawbone, which got its start as an audio technology company named Aliph back in 1999, entered the wearable health and fitness space in 2011 with the introduction of its UP wristband. But Fitbit, which launched its first connected health wearable in 2009, has soared past Jawbone in terms of market share and product recognition.
Jawbone has not yet responded to a request for comment. Fitbit has also not released an official statement about today's ruling.
Update, 1:55PM, April 29th, 2016: A Jawbone representative provided the following comment on the court's decision:
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. The Court confirmed that Fitbit will face a trial in 10 days on claims that it misappropriated Jawbone's trade secrets. In the meantime, the patent ruling will be appealed.