Jawbone has recently announced that Fitbit is under investigation by a criminal grand jury for theft of trade secrets. The statement was made in a court filing, and according to Bloomberg, Fitbit denied the allegations and said they’re “without merit”.
Fitbit and Jawbone have been involved in legal spats for quite some time now. In May 2015, Jawbone accused its rival of taking ahold of proprietary information from its employees. Fitbit rejected the allegations, saying that the US International Trade Commission in Washington already rejected the trade secret claims in October.
Jawbone responded and said that the government agency only looked at a limited number of claims against Fitbit and even lacked the authority to consider statements made by former employees, cited as defendants in the lawsuit.
Jawbone isn’t giving up on the allegations and claims that, in May 2015, Fitbit hired five Jawbone employees who brought more than 350,000 confidential files from their former employer.
Fitbit allegedly accessed critical info about Jawbone products
Jawbone said the files contained critical information about sensors and materials used in various products, as well as company costs and profit margins.
“The evidence developed to date in this litigation confirms a conspiracy by Fitbit and the individual defendants to steal Jawbone’s coveted trade secrets and to use them to enhance Fitbit’s position in the marketplace, in clear violation of California law,” said Jawbone.
In response, Fitbit says there’s no evidence that the files were taken by ex-employees and accessed on Fitbit’s systems. The company says the files were turned over to Jawbone after a former employee had saved them on a cloud-based computer backup service.
In a statement released Monday, Fitbit said that it was cooperating with the US attorney’s office “to demonstrate, once again, that these allegations are without merit.” However, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security have been conducting a grand jury probe of Fitbit for more than five months. A hearing in the case is set for February 15.