Jawbone suing rival Fitbit over “systematically plundering” employees
Jawbone Inc. has filed a lawsuit against its rival Fitbit Inc., accusing the competitor of “systematically plundering” employees for confidential information, such as trade secrets, business plans, and market research.
The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in San Francisco earlier today, where the two wearable fitness-tracking device makers are based.
Jawbone says that Fitbit poached employees since the beginning of the year and that those employees who left Jawbone to work for Fitbit shared “intimate knowledge of key aspects of Jawbone’s business.”
Jawbone says that the employees broke their agreements with the company and hid their activities.
Jawbone is a world-leader in consumer technology and wearable devices.
Fitbit’s actions “bear the hallmarks of a carefully orchestrated plan to abscond with reams of proprietary and confidential information regarding the intricacies of Jawbone’s business and the future direction of the market,” Jawbone alleged.
In addition, according to the filing, a Fitbit recruiter admitted at one point that the company’s “objective is to decimate Jawbone.”
According to the complaint filed by Jawbone, “forensic analyses performed by Jawbone on its former employees’ computer devices revealed that a number of the departed employees used USB thumb drives in their last days of employment at Jawbone to steal proprietary company information, and in other cases forwarded confidential company information to personal email addresses for later use”.
It went on to say that “the stolen files are the informational equivalent of a gold mine for Fitbit, as they provide an intricate roadmap into the core of Jawbone’s business,”
Jawbone seeks damages against Fitbit and five of its former employees.
The case is Aliphcom Inc. v. Fitbit Inc., CGC15-546004, California Superior Court, San Francisco County (San Francisco).
Fitbit sued ahead of going public
The lawsuit against Fitbit occurs on the verge of its initial public offering – which would be among the first for the wearable-technology market.
In 2014 the company’s sales increased from $745.4 million from $271 million in 2013.
According to Bloomberg, it sold 10.9 million devices last year and was profitable.