We often discuss fashiontech and how to build a strong business that revolves around it in a legal manner on this blog. We thought it would be interesting to move away from the prevention side and address what can sometimes happen in court. We’ll therefore be looking at a decision about the concept of “frivolous lawsuits” in the Smart Wearable Technologies Inc. v. Fitbit Inc. case.
Please use this as general information, not as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding wearables of frivolous lawsuits, please consult an attorney.
Smart Wearables initially sued Fitbit for patent infringement in 2016, claiming that the Fitbit Gaze and the Fitbit Surge infringed on a Smart Wearables technology used to gather data and then generate a variety of information about a user’s movement.
In May 2017, Fitbit informed Smart Wearables’ attorneys that the Fitbit Gaze and Fitbit Surge did not infringe on any patents and provided them with a “Fitbit engineer’s declaration, an invitation to inspect the source code at Fitbit’s office, and the bill of materials for an accused device.” Smart Wearables however refused to amend its claims and decided to keep arguing that Fitbit had infringed on its patent.
Fitbit subsequently filed a motion for sanctions against Smart Wearable Technologies on the basis that the plaintiff’s allegations were frivolous. On June 27th, 2018, two years after the lawsuit was filed, Judge Vince Chhabria granted Fitbit this motion for sanctions and attorney’s fees, based on the fact that Smart Wearables Technologies had decided not to look into Fitbit’s claims regarding the lack of patent infringement.
Judge Chhabria stated that Smart Wearable Technologies’ lack of investigation into Fitbit’s claims and their refusal to do a teardown of the devices were brought up multiple times during the litigation. Yet, Smart Wearable Technologies was not able to provide the court with a valid reason as to why they were refusing any kind of investigation and decided instead to continue to “assert infringement theories that were outside the scope of its contentions and unsupported by any real evidence.”
Considering all these facts, Judge Chhabria held Smart Wearable Technologies and their attorneys jointly liable for the amount of $222,937.66.
What to learn from this decision? If you are thinking about suing a competitor based on weak evidence for the sole purpose of negatively impacting their business, keep in mind that such a behavior can easily backfire. Courts can sanction abusive behaviors such as Smart Wearable Technologies’ in this case. Moreover, looking into the other party’s claims is essential, especially if they are showing good faith and providing you with the necessary tools to investigate them. Doing so can allow you to amend your claims to the essential, which is always appreciated by courts.
As with all Law on the Runway posts, please use this as general information, not as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding wearables or frivolous lawsuits, you may email email@example.com.