Jawbone has failed in a legal bid to block rival Fitbit from operating in the United States, after a US International Trade Commission judge ruled that Fitbit had not stolen trade secrets from the manufacturer. Jawbone had alleged that its rival had stolen classified information in a complaint to the International Trade Commission in July last year — an action would violate the the US Tariff Act, and potentially allow the ITC to block the import of Fitbit's products into the US. But judge Dee Lord disagreed with Jawbone's assessment of the situation, stating that "no party has been shown to have misappropriated any trade secret."
Jawbone sought to block imports of Fitbit products to the US
The complaint originally accused Fitbit of infringing on six patents, but all of these were either invalidated or withdrawn ahead of the trial, leaving judge Lord to consider only the claim that Fitbit had poached Jawbone employees, who then downloaded confidential information and presented it to their new bosses. Another trade secret case is currently being considered in California state court, which alleges that Fitbit was "systematically plundering" Jawbone, taking 30 percent of its staff who brought "intimate knowledge of key aspects of Jawbone's business."
Despite the number of cases brought against its competitor, Jawbone hasn't had much luck so far in wounding Fitbit: another patent claim was invalidated in July, canceling a trial scheduled for August. Fitbit CEO James Park said that his company "maintained that Jawbone's allegations were utterly without merit" from the outset, calling them "nothing more than a desperate attempt by Jawbone to disrupt Fitbit's momentum to compensate for their own lack of success in the market." Fitbit has pulled away from its rival in recent years, rising to become the biggest fitness band manufacturer on the market, and shipping 5.7 million devices in the second quarter of 2016. Jawbone, on the other hand, dropped out of the top five wearable manufacturers this year, according to IDC data.