The law firm representing wearable gadget maker Jawbone in its legal battles against rival Fitbit has abruptly withdrawn from three of the pending cases, according to court filings released last week and this week.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 spokesperson for Jawbone declined to comment.
Susman Godfrey represents Jawbone in two other cases against Fitbit, but had not withdrawn from those cases as of Tuesday morning. It’s unclear if 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 in order 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. However, Jawbone 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 of last year, 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 fulfil customer service requests, and its Facebook page is full of complaints from customers.
Jawbone has also stopped producing and selling its fitness trackers as it awaits another round of funding to develop a clinical-grade health device, sources told Business Insider last year. TechCrunch reported in February that Jawbone plans to abandon its consumer fitness tracking business altogether. The company has also abandoned its Bluetooth speaker business.
Jawbone has been trying to raise more funding for months, sources told Business Insider last year. 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 last valuation of $US1.5 billion, according to the Financial Times report.
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