Wearable tech veteran Fitbit has been in hot water ever since announcing plans to go public. Generally a cause for celebration, the company is in the midst of a lawsuit filed by unhappy customers claiming the activity tracker’s sleep tracking capabilities were falsely advertised and have adverse health affects. But Fitbit now has a bigger problem to contend with: Top rival Jawbone has filed for lawsuit, claiming their case “arises out of the clandestine efforts of Fitbit to steal talent, trade secrets and intellectual property from its chief competitor.”
According to the complaint, Fitbit has been poaching key employees from Jawbone over the past year. Furthermore, these employees downloaded and divulged sensitive information before leaving the company. One worker was hired by Fitbit but neglected to give her notice until she had downloaded what Jawbone called a “playbook” outlining future products. Another sent confidential information to his personal email. “In the court filing, Jawbone quoted an unnamed executive search consultant who reportedly said, ‘Fitbit’s objective is to decimate Jawbone,’” reported the New York Times.
Fitbit CPO Marty Reaume acknowledged hawking Jawbone employees, but denied all allegations regarding theft of sensitive information. “We are unaware of any confidential or proprietary information of Jawbone in our possession and we intend to vigorously defend against these allegations,” the executive stated.
The lawsuit comes amidst Jawbone’s purported financial difficulties, although the company adamantly insists any such speculation is largely unfounded and over exaggerated. “Demand for Jawbone’s products are extremely strong, as is the company’s financial health. The company has plenty of cash and an exciting product pipeline,” said a rep.
Considering the growth the wearables market is expected to reach over the next decade, it will be interesting to see which of these health tracker moguls will come out on top.