We are at the end of the year again and even though Christmas has come and gone again, we are still in the season and mood for this worldwide celebration. It seems, however, that some companies and firms in the technology industry have taken the concept of boxing day a little too far this time around as they are ready to slug it out by any means necessary to ensure that they come out tops. We saw Nokia come back and sue Apple in more than five countries and thirty or more different regions for infringement on patents that spans over 36 different “patents” required in the hardware and software development of a smartphone. The same season saw us watching what could be a breeding war between Uber and the Department of Motor Vehicles in California where the former firm had failed to register its autonomous motors before it started to test them on the roads. As if that was not enough, Google saw to the end of CyanogenMod in a highly ironic twist of events, given that the latter company had sworn to put a bullet in the head of the search engine giant instead. In the middle of all these, what we need more than anything is for someone to show some love, and now, we might have our Christmas miracle.
Although coming late, Fitbit has finally decided to drop one of its patent infringement lawsuits filed against Jawbone. This patent suit has been filed against Jawbone since the start of the year and now, nearly a full year after that first claim went into the courts, Fitbit is dropping all of those claims without even as much as a settlement. Both firms – Fitbit and Jawbone – are known for the sales of wearables and medical fitness devices respectively and sometimes at the start of the year, Fitbit had genuine reasons to believe that Jawbone might have used some of its technology in the development of their wearables. When this suit was filed, it became impossible for Jawbone to go on with sales as normally as before and they saw the United States market taken away from them – at least, till the suit would be resolved.
This should be considered good news for the people over at Jawbone and for Fitbit, a loss of some sort, but very much reverse is the case here. When Fitbit brought the allegation against Jawbone at first and took matters to court, the latter company were still doing good in the market, making the war something of a legal battle between two serious competitors in the market. A few months down the line now, Jawbone is not the same company that it used to be (as seen and pointed out by the spokesperson of Fitbit also) and they have much bigger fish to fry than fighting a patent war now. They are currently in a struggle to keep their heads above waters in the business, and their stocks have taken a downward turn, declining rapidly in an ever-growing market and the middle of increasing demands. The market us very complex now, and Jawbone couldn’t have picked a much worse time to start failing.
With a hearing of the case already set for March 2017, Jawbone was facing a potential ban on sales and imports of its products into the United States, but at the rate at which things are going, they would not even have any merchandise left to fight for at that time. It was, therefore, useless for Fitbit to still keep the matter in the courts. In a way, although indirectly, Fitbit has won this particular war against Jawbone. Going a step further, Fitbit pointed out that their rival was in a state of bankruptcy when explaining their decision to drop the suits to the public, a claim which Jawbone has since denied. Although they could not deny the claims on their stocks as the information is out there for all to see, there are additional claims that the company might be looking to sell itself in the nearest future. Speaking further on the matter too, Jawbone still insists that the patents which Fitbit had filed its claims on had been considered invalid for a long time now, and the lawsuit should have been dropped long before now.
Whether this is true or not, Fitbit has been able to capture the market very well in the last quarter compared to Jawbone who could not even boast an impressive percentage, and as cruel as this may sound, this was a good move from Fitbit to eliminate competition. As many would say, it’s just business, and that’s exactly how Fitbit would be seeing it now. With the impact that the lawsuit has had on their opponents, Fitbit can just take a vacation for a while now and relax with a bottle of their favorite drink. Jawbone, on the other hand, still has a lot of things on its plate that it would have to clear. Minus the fact that they need to start looking for ways to raise the company and its stocks again from the ‘zero or below’ status that it is in, they still have a lot of suits from Fitbit to deal with.
The ending of one lawsuit is considered at best, Fitbit’s Christmas present to Jawbone, but they have still enough standing for a battle of a lifetime in courts.