Federal prosecutors have charged six former and current Fitbit employees with possessing trade secrets stolen from rival wearable products company Jawbone.
The indictment, filed Thursday in federal court in Northern California, notes that each defendant had worked for Jawbone for at least one year between May 2011 and April 2015 before leaving and becoming employed by Fitbit. They had signed a confidentiality agreement with the company, the indictment highlights.
It further claims that each person was aware that the trade secrets had been stolen and that they weren’t supposed to be in possession of them.
Each defendant was charged with one or more counts of possession of trade secrets.
Those indicted are scheduled to appear in court on July 9, 2018. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine per count followed by up to three years of supervised release.
A spokesperson for Fitbit offered the following statement to multiple publications:
“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.”
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“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.”