Jawbone is getting desperate.
The maker of UP fitness trackers has filed a lawsuit alleging that several of its employees took sensitive information about the company’s “supply chain, gross margins, product lineup and market predictions” with them after they were recruited by rival FitBit.
Jawbone names FitBit and five of its former employees in the lawsuit. It’s seeking an unspecified amount of damages in the suit and is also pursuing an injunction preventing those former employees from disclosing any more of its secrets.
Here’s the official statement FitBit provided to BuzzFeed News:
As the pioneer and leader in the connected health and fitness market, Fitbit has no need to take information from Jawbone or any other company. Since Fitbit’s start in 2007, our employees have developed and delivered innovative product offerings to empower our customers to lead healthier, more active lives. We are unaware of any confidential or proprietary information of Jawbone in our possession and we intend to vigorously defend against these allegations.
Perhaps the most telling aspect of the lawsuit is that it comes shortly after FitBit announced that it’s hoping to raise around $ 100 million from an initial public offering expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange later this year.
Jawbone has no such plans. In fact, reports have swirled about the company failing to raise venture funding and being forced to take a $ 300 million loan — and a tight leash, according to Bloomberg View — from BlackRock earlier this year.
One company is going public. Another is said to be struggling to raise venture capital in the frothiest times since the original dot-com boom. Even if there is merit to Jawbone’s claims, the suit’s timing makes it seem opportunistic at best.
[illustration by Brad Jonas]