Jawbone sues Fitbit for data theft, employee poaching

Fitbit is facing a legal battle from competitor Jawbone regarding alleged employee poaching and data theft, according to a New York Times report.                        

Jawbone claims Fitbit is "systematically plundering" proprietary data by hiring Fitbit staffers who allegedly stole confidential information prior to leaving their respective Jawbone jobs, according to the Times. The legal complaint, filed in California State Court, also says the eight-year-old company stole trade secrets and intellectual property.

The news comes not long after Fitbit filed for a $100 million IPO, as well as a report that says the fitness tracker maker may be losing its tight grip as the market leader given increased consumer demand for smartwatch devices. Argus Insights research claims the wearables maker is struggling and that its leadership in wearables is less than 50 percent, which is much less than its 68 percent ownership of the fitness band segment. 

The alleged employee poaching and data theft has been going on since the start of the year, according to the Times report, which cites Jawbone's legal filing. Reportedly, Fitbit recruiters have reached out to nearly a third of Jawbone's workers. In addition, those hired on by Fitbit reportedly took Jawbone data, such as product information and business plans, on their way out the door.

The Times reports the court complaint includes details of actions by two employees who admit to taking confidential data from Jawbone's systems and that Fitbit's top human resources manager admitted her company was poaching workers. In its legal filing, Jawbone is asking for court action to stop the alleged poaching and financial damages relating to the alleged stolen data.

For more information:
- read the NY Times report

Related Articles:
Fitbit faces challenges as smartwatch, fitness band competition heats up
Fitbit files for $100 million IPO
Jawbone may be next big connected device investment for Google
Jawbone launches wearable user tracking service for enterprise clients
Fitbit not yet jumping on Apple HealthKit bandwagon