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6 January 2016Americas

US judge issues ‘rare’ stay in Jawbone v Fitbit dispute

A US district court has ordered a stay in a patent infringement case between Jawbone and Fitbit as the International Trade Commission is due to issue its ruling on another case centring on the same patents.

Judge Haywood Gilliam of the US District Court for the Northern District of California awarded the stay in the case, which concerns Fitbit’s alleged infringement of six patents owned by Jawbone.

The patents are all centred on wearable fitness trackers.

Jawbone requested the stay in October. It argued that because the ITC is currently ruling on a similar claim of infringement it filed against Fitbit a stay was needed to avoid inconsistent rulings.

Jawbone filed the complaint at the California district court on July 3, while the complaint at the ITC was filed four days later. On August 17, the ITC instituted proceedings.

Despite acknowledging that issuing a stay might encourage “gamesmanship” and “forum shopping”, Gilliam granted Jawbone’s “rare” request.

Defendant Fitbit also had a legal right to request a stay because it faced two similar cases in different forums, but opted to forego its right.

Fitbit protested that granting a stay would delay the finding on its challenge to the validity of the asserted patents, which, if ruled invalid, may have a positive effect on the ITC case.

Furthermore, Fitbit argued that the ITC is not an adequate forum to hear challenges to registered patents.

But Gilliam dismissed the complaints. He said that “while it might be somewhat uncommon” for the ITC to review patent challenges, it is not unprecedented.

“Because the ITC proceeding and this case involve identical patents, and because the parties have already agreed to coordinate discovery and consider measures such as cross-designation of testimony, the court would expect this case to proceed on an expedited basis after the ITC matter ends,” he concluded in the December 30 ruling.

A spokesperson for Jawbone told LSIPR that it is pleased with the "well-reasoned decision".

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More on this story

Americas
7 March 2016   The International Trade Commission has invalidated two patents owned by Jawbone because they cover “ineligible subject matter”, dealing a blow to the wearable fitness company in its legal battle with rival Fitbit.

More on this story

Americas
7 March 2016   The International Trade Commission has invalidated two patents owned by Jawbone because they cover “ineligible subject matter”, dealing a blow to the wearable fitness company in its legal battle with rival Fitbit.

More on this story

Americas
7 March 2016   The International Trade Commission has invalidated two patents owned by Jawbone because they cover “ineligible subject matter”, dealing a blow to the wearable fitness company in its legal battle with rival Fitbit.