- REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The law firm representing the wearable-gadget maker Jawbone in its legal battles against its rival Fitbit has abruptly withdrawn from three of the pending cases, according to court filings released last week and this week.
The firm, Susman Godfrey L.L.P., did not give a reason for stepping aside in the filings, saying only that “professional considerations” caused the move.
Four of the lawyers listed in the filing did not respond to voice messages or emails asking for comment. One lawyer from Susman Godfrey listed in the filing, Genevieve Vose Wallace, declined to comment. A representative for Jawbone declined to comment.
Susman Godfrey had not withdrawn from two other cases in which it has been representing Jawbone against Fitbit as of Tuesday morning. It is unclear whether Susman Godfrey will withdraw from those cases, one of which is a patent lawsuit Jawbone filed against Fitbit.
The filings say Susman Godfrey will continue representation for 60 days to allow Jawbone to find new representation.
Jawbone and Fitbit have been suing each other over patent and trade-secret disputes for years. Fitbit dropped one of its cases against Jawbone in December, meaning it no longer sought to ban imports of Jawbone devices to the US. Jawbone, however, had stopped selling products by that time anyway.
Jawbone, which makes wearable personal-fitness trackers, is seeking to right its business amid a tumultuous phase. In September, Jawbone cut ties with its third-party customer-service agency NexRep after the agency claimed in an internal email obtained by Business Insider that Jawbone was unable to pay for services. At the time, Jawbone told Business Insider it was reviewing its bills to NexRep and “restructuring” its customer service. Since then, it’s been widely reported that Jawbone has been unable to fulfill customer-service requests, and its Facebook page is full of complaints from customers.
Jawbone also stopped producing and selling its fitness trackers while awaiting another round of funding to develop a clinical-grade health device, sources told Business Insider last year. TechCrunch reported in February that Jawbone planned to abandon its consumer fitness-tracking business altogether. The company has abandoned its Bluetooth speaker business.
Sources told Business Insider last year that Jawbone had been trying to raise more funding for months. In January, someone close to the company told the Financial Times that the company was close to securing a new round of funding, but no announcement has been made since then. Jawbone also turned down an acquisition offer by Fitbit in December because the offer was well below its most recent valuation, of $1.5 billion, according to the Financial Times report.
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