First fitness device maker Jawbone claimed rival Fitbit was poaching employees and stealing intellectual property. Now, it's in court to stop Fitbit products from being imported into the U.S., according to a Bloomberg report.
It's the latest legal battle between the two companies. In late May, Jawbone went to court claiming Fitbit was "systematically plundering" propriety data by hiring Jawbone employees. That legal complaint also stipulated Fitbit was stealing trade secrets.
The initial legal tussle came on the heels of Fitbit's initial public offering, which bested analysts' expectations in June. The share price resulted in a $732 million IPO, which valued the company at $4.1 billion.
The import ban action, commenced last week with the U.S. International Trade Commission, is tied to the patent claims. In quick fashion, Fitbit responded in the media, claiming that it has more than 200 patents and patents pending.
"Fitbit has independently developed and delivered innovative product offerings to empower its customers to lead healthier, more active lives," the company said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. Fitbit told Bloomberg it is pledging to "defend itself vigorously against all allegations made in the complaint."
The fitness band makers are leading one of the most promising and lucrative mHealth product markets--wearables. As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, the global wearables market is enjoying its eighth consecutive quarter of growth, with vendors shipping out 11.4 million products in the first quarter of the year, according to a report from research firm IDC.
Those 11.4 million products are a 200 percent spike compared to the 3.8 million wearables shipped a year ago. However, continued growth is tied to innovation and whether industry leaders stay focused user expectations regarding services and use, says Ramon Llmas, wearable research manager for IDC research.
In an email interview Llmas said that Fitbit's continued market leadership is tied to focusing on providing users with more prescriptive data and insight on practical areas.
In addition to trying to stop Fitbit's band imports, the Bloomberg report states that Jawbone also is seeking a ban on products manufactured by Flextronics International Inc., which at one time built Jawbone products. Jawbone claims Flextronics employees are continuing to use Jawbone's database and one of those involved once was Fitbit's wearable product leaders, according to Bloomberg.
For more information;
- read the Bloomberg report