The Jawbone-Fitbit saga has been continued with an administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling that the two Jawbone patents Fitbit was accused of infringing upon are ineligible and invalid.
In her 25-page summary judgment, Judge Dee Lord ruled that "utilizing conventional electronic devices to obtain and manipulate sleep-related data of an individual is an abstract idea bereft of any innovative technological concept and, as such, cannot be monopolized by Jawbone."
ITC could still end-up blocking Fitbit imports to the U.S.And that's exactly what Fitbit argued, relying on the precedent of Alice v CLS Bank, which established that computerizing a human process was not enough to keep it from being considered an "abstract idea", one of three categories of invention the Supreme Court has deemed unpatentable.
Jawbone, naturally, plans to appeal the decision.
"The two patents that are the subject of the ITC ruling represent only a portion of Jawbone's case against Fitbit and a small subset of Jawbone's overall patent portfolio," Jawbone told MobiHealthNews in an emailed statement. "The Court confirmed that Fitbit will face a trial in 10 days on claims that it misappropriated Jawbone's trade secrets. In the meantime, the patent ruling will be appealed."
On the other hand, Lord ruled that the trade secrets claim had sufficient merit to debate in court. If you recall, Jawbone alleged that Fitbit stole its trade secrets when it hired former Jawbone employees.
In other words, we'll be hearing more about this case, and as far as we (don't) know, ITC could still end-up blocking Fitbit imports to the U.S. More to come, obviously.