Retaining trade secrets and preventing employee poaching can be particularly difficult in highly competitive industries such as California’s tech industry. One area of technology where competition is quickly rising is the connected fitness market, which provides wearable products for monitoring health.
The top competitors in the market are now engaged in a legal dispute involving claims of poached talent and stolen trade secrets.
Jawbone, a San Francisco-based company, started out 16 years ago making cellphone headsets and has since moved into the health-monitoring wearables market. The company claims that Fitbit, which has been in business since 2007, hired away Jawbone employees who, before leaving the company, downloaded information on Jawbone’s products and business plans.
Jawbone’s lawsuit claims that in one instance a Jawbone employee was hired by Fitbit on April 16. The employee reportedly did not inform Jawbone that she intended to leave the company until April 22. Jawbone claims that the employee met with a senior director of product management on April 20 and then downloaded a “playbook” for Jawbone’s future products.
According to the complaint filed in California Superior Court, “This case arises out of the clandestine efforts of Fitbit to steal talent, trade secrets and intellectual property from its chief competitor.”
Fitbit claims that, as the leader in the industry, it has no need to take Jawbone’s intellectual property. Fitbit stated that it is unaware of any such information in the company’s possession.
Our readers in Irvine and Riverside may want to follow up on this case to see which side prevails.