Six former and current Fitbit employees have been charged in a U.S. federal indictment for allegedly possessing trade secrets stolen from rival wearables company Jawbone, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The six individuals worked at Fitbit for at least one year between May 2011 and April 2015.
Notably, Jawbone had actually sued Fitbit in May 2015, alleging that Fitbit was actively engaging in an effort to steal talent, trade secrets and intellectual property. However, the companies reached a settlement in December 2017.
In a statement to The Verge, a Fitbit representative claims that the 2015 lawsuit involved the same six people who now stand charged: “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.”
However, Jawbone Health, a Jawbone spinoff following the original company’s liquidation, told The Verge that “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.”
If convicted, the six employees could face up to 10 years in prison.
Via: The Verge