Wearable warfare: Jawbone says Fitbit stole its secrets


Jawbone has filed a lawsuit against five of its former employees and Fitbit, claiming its ex-staff poached company secrets costing "hundreds of millions of dollars" - before jumping ship to its rivals.

According to Jawbone, its former employees began downloading highly-secret information about the company onto USB drives before they began working at Fitbit - it's like Edward Snowden/GCHQ all over again.

"This case arises out of the clandestine efforts of Fitbit to steal talent, trade secrets and intellectual property from its chief competitor," lawyers for Jawbone stated.

The UP3 makers have said their ex-employees essentially gave their "playbook for the future" to their key rivals in the fitness tracking market.

The lawsuit goes on to say that Fitbit intentionally tried to poach around a third of Jawbone's staff, with one consultant reportedly saying, "Fitbit's objective is to decimate Jawbone".

Fitbit is still one of the most successful wearable companies, revealing that it's sold around 21 million devices since 2011. The company has come under pressure recently from budget Chinese manufacturers, and more premium devices such as the Apple Watch.

Bad times

This lawsuit comes at a particularly bad time for Fitbit, as the company prepare to raise at least $100m in an IPO tomorrow.

Fitbit have released a statement to the New York Times saying, "As the pioneer and leader in the connected health and fitness market, Fitbit has no need to take information from Jawbone or any other company. We are unaware of any confidential or proprietary information of Jawbone in our possession and we intend to vigorously defend against these allegations,"

It's not the first piece of bad news the company has received since announcing plans to go public. It was recently being targeted in a lawsuit regarding the accuracy of its sleep tacking features and the recall of its Force wristband.