SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted technology company Fitbit’s motions for sanctions and attorney’s fees against Smart Wearable Technologies Inc., noting that plaintiff Smart Wearable’s arguments were “borderline frivolous.”
Judge Vince Chhabria wrote the order for the court on June 27.
“The conduct of both Smart Wearable and its lawyers in this litigation was plainly irresponsible and frivolous,” Chhabria wrote.
Smart Wearables sued Fitbit over allegations of patent infringement in 2016. Smart Wearables claimed that two of Fitbit’s wearable activity trackers, the Fitbit Blaze and the Fitbit Surge, infringed on its patent that used an “accelerometer and a gyroscope to gather data that is then used generate six degrees of freedom information about a person's movement.”
In February, Chhabria granted summary judgment to Fitbit, finding that Fitbit had provided “unrebutted evidence” that its devices did not infringe on the patent.
Fitbit filed a motion for sanctions against Smart Wearables on Feb. 21, stating that “SWT’s infringement allegations are objectively frivolous,” and that “SWT has continued to file frivolous papers in an effort to keep alive a lawsuit that was baseless from the outset.”
Fitbit further claimed that Smart Wearable’s counsel has been “conducting a widespread campaign of frivolous litigation against numerous targets.”
In the order, Chhabria stated that Smart Wearables had no explanation for why it refused to “diligently investigate its claims” after Fitbit sent notice to it explaining how the devices did not infringe on the patent, along with “an invitation to inspect the source code at Fitbit’s offices.”
Chhabria stated that Smart Wearables instead “continued to boldly assert…implausible theories of infringement…that were outside the scope of its contentions and unsupported by any real evidence.”
Chhabria rebutted Smart Wearable’s argument that it had not been given enough warning that Fitbit was going to file sanctions. Pointing out the numerous briefs and hearings that notified them of Fitbit’s intention, Chhabria referenced the January hearing for summary judgment where Smart Wearable’s own counsel argued that the court should not grant Fitbit’s motion for sanctions.
“There is no reasonable argument that the lawyers were not given notice and an opportunity to be heard,” he wrote.
The order granted Fitbit $222,937.36 for attorney’s fees and sanctions, noting this would hold “Smart Wearables and its lawyers jointly and severally liable.”
The order granted in part Smart Wearable’s motion to file under seal and ordered the court clerk to unseal certain material “Fitbit no longer seeks to seal.”
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number 3:17-cv-05068-VC