Jawbone files counterclaim against Fitbit's patent suit

By Aditi Pai
Fitbit Surge Fitbit Surge

Jawbone has filed an answer and counterclaim against Fitbit in response to the patent infringement lawsuit that Fitbit filed in early September, according to TechCrunch.

The suit Fitbit filed in September alleged that Jawbone infringed on three patents, two of which were issued in May 2015 and a third that was issued in December 2014. The two from May 2015 were “Notifications On A User Device Based On Activity Detected By An Activity Monitoring Device,” and “Biometric Monitoring Device With Heart Rate Measurement Activated By A Single User Gesture.” The third, issued at the end of last year, was “Methods for Detecting and Recording Physical Activity of Person.” The lawsuit claims Jawbone’s UP Move, UP24, UP2, UP3, and UP4 as well as the UP software interface infringe on these patents.

In the counterclaim that Jawbone filed recently, the company said that Fitbit's suit was a "meritless patent case" that is "part of its by-any-means-necessary campaign" to slow down its competitors and maintain its position as the dominant fitness tracking device company. 

"None of Jawbone’s accused products even arguably infringes the asserted patents, making it clear that Fitbit intends to use this case to intimidate and harass its most prominent competitor rather than legitimately enforce its intellectual property rights," Jawbone continued.

Jawbone also argued that in another court, Fitbit filed another patent suit against Jawbone and that "Fitbit’s decision to bring two separate cases in two geographically disparate courts makes sense only as harassment". Finally, Jawbone said it wanted a resolution for what it calls Fitbit's "anticompetitive misconduct".

After MobiHealthNews published this article, Fitbit emailed us a statement: “We have been able to successfully compete in a competitive market by providing consumers with products they want at price points they find attractive. These allegations are unfounded, and yet another misguided attempt for publicity in order to deflect attention from Jawbone’s own lack of performance. Fitbit's primary focus is and continues to be on delivering innovative products and services that empower people around the world to reach their health and fitness goals."

This lawsuit battle first began in May, just a few weeks after Fitbit filed for an IPO. In that suit, Jawbone alleged that Fitbit poached employees who downloaded sensitive data about Jawbone before leaving the company. In the filing Jawbone describes one of its former employees as requesting a meeting with company executives to better understand the company’s future strategy and get a look at prototype devices for future products. Weeks before leaving to join Fitbit, she then downloaded the presentation, which Jawbone said was its “Playbook for the Future” onto her personal computer.

In June, Jawbone filed a second lawsuit, this time Jawbone sued Fitbit over alleged infringement of three patents Jawbone obtained when it acquired BodyMedia in 2013. BodyMedia’s extensive IP catalog was one of the key drivers of that acquisition.

And in July, a report emerged that Jawbone is trying to get the US International Trade Commission to block Fitbit’s imports into the US based on the same complaints that form the basis of the two lawsuits against Fitbit. And towards the end of August, the ITC confirmed that it planned to investigate Jawbone’s claims, according to Legal Newsline.

Last week, Jawbone announced that BaubleBar, an online jewelry retailer, launched a line of bracelets that have compartments that can hold Jawbone's economy tracker, the UP Move. The bracelets cost between $45 and $85.

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