Saturday, December 24, 2016

Fitbit ends one Jawbone patent case seeking to block device import

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It’s a minor holiday miracle. Wearable device leaders Fitbit and Jawbone have been locked in a prolonged legal battle for well over a year, and yesterday Fitbit dropped one of the key pursuits against its fellow fitness manufacturer, dropping a patent violation complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Fitbit cited Jawbone’s recent financial woes as part of the decision to drop the suit, throwing some series legal shade, “SEC filings of one of its biggest investors now value Jawbone shares as worth nothing, as well as indicate that Jawbone has filed for bankruptcy or is in default.”

While Jawbone is denying bankruptcy filings, the company was happy to discuss the end of the suit, which sought to block import of its devices. A Jawbone rep reached out to TechCrunch with a statement lauding the move, while adding that it will continue its own legal action against Fitbit. Here it is, in full,

Fitbit has moved to drop its patent case against Jawbone, which had been set for trial in the International Trade Commission in March. By dismissing this action, Fitbit is no longer seeking to block importation of Jawbone devices, including Jawbone products in development. Jawbone believes this case — involving patents already found once to be invalid — should have been dismissed long ago by Fitbit. Fitbit’s pursuit of these baseless claims for so long was to burden Jawbone– an issue to be raised in Jawbone’s antitrust claim against Fitbit. Jawbone’s trade secret case in California state court against Fitbit will move forward to a jury trial in 2017.

We’ve reached to Fitbit for comment, but have yet to receive a response. Holidays, you know? We’ll add something as soon as we hear back.

In spite of the end of this specific pursuit, the extended legal battle between the fitness companies don’t look to be ending any time soon, which several suits still on-going.

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