Fitbit employees charged with stealing trade secrets

Six current and former Fitbit employees have been charged in an indictment for possession of stolen trade secrets from Jawbone.

Six former and current US-based Fitbit employees have been charged with possessing stolen trade secrets from Jawbone – Fitbit’s now-defunct, former rival in the wearables market.

US federal prosecutors filed an indictment stating that all six were former Jawbone staff, who violated confidentiality agreements by receiving trade secrets after their departures.

Reportedly, Jawbone had previously filed a lawsuit against these same employees and Fitbit, claiming that the latter had “systematically” plundered more than 300,000 confidential documents. It is said that both Fitbit and Jawbone eventually settled. However, that was too late for the struggling Jawbone, and its parent company AliphCom – both were beyond saving.

Jawbone now currently exists as a spin-off from the original, known as Jawbone Health.

“In a trade secret misappropriation case brought by Jawbone in the International Trade Commission in 2016 that involved these same individuals, a federal administrative law judge during a nine-day trial on the merits found that no Jawbone trade secrets were misappropriated or used in any Fitbit product, feature or technology,” Fitbit said in an email statement to The Mercury News.

“We believe the Justice Department’s indictment of six current and former Fitbit Inc employees for stealing trade secrets from their former employer, Jawbone, validates the claims we made in our 2015 lawsuit against Fitbit,” said Jawbone Health, in a statement to The Verge.

If convicted, the six employees will face up to 10 years in prison. 

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