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Jawbone sues Fitbit for third time in two months

Fitness band manufacturer files lawsuit against competitor for breach of patent

Jawbone has filed its third suit in two months against rivals Fitbit.

The fitness band manufacturer has filed a new claim against its principal competitor, this time with the International Trade Commission (ITC).

The latest suit follows similar charges in May and June, which claimed that Fitbit stole Jabone's secrets via newly-hired ex-employees and infringed on Jawbone's patents with its wearable fitness trackers.

The ITC claim is based on the same allegations, and seeks a ruling within 15 months. This could, in turn, expedite the other cases, filed in San Francisco Superior Court and US District Court respectively.

Jawbone is also pursuing a cease-and-desist order as part of the ruling, which would block Fitbit from importing fitness trackers or the components to manufacture them.

This ruling, if successful, could potentially force Fitbit out of business. It is also likely to affect the company's stock price, as this accusation comers just three weeks after Fitbit's IPO.

Emily Nuttall, IP and Litigation associate for Kemp Little, isn't surprised to see this kind of case being brought to court. "The wearable tech space is becoming an increasingly valuable and competitive one, which is reliant almost wholly on IP rights", she says.

"It is perhaps unsurprising in that context that businesses with large but, arguably, vulnerable presences in the market are deciding to take aggressive action to enforce their IP".

"Jawbone's willingness to take such serious, public and formal action speaks volumes about its conviction in its cause, and also the damage that it foresees Fitbit doing to its business."

Nuttall went on to say that Jawbone may have to be careful about the veracity of its claims, stating that "If it transpires that Fitbit has done nothing more than produce a rival product, with no breach or infringement of Jawbone's IP, Jawbone may have some very serious questions to answer as to its motives; and may even be on the receiving end of its own lawsuit."

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