SAN JOSE – Six current and former Fitbit employees were charged in a federal indictment Thursday filed in San Jose for allegedly being in possession of trade secrets stolen from competitor Jawbone, according to information from the Department of Justice.

The indictment charges the six people — Katherine Mogal, 52, of San Francisco; Rong Zhang, 45, of El Cerrito; Jing Qi Weiden, 39, of San Jose; Ana Rosario, 33, of Pacifica; Patrick Narron, 41, of Boulder Creek; and Patricio Romano, 37, of Calabasas — with violating confidentiality agreements they had signed as former employees of Jawbone after they accepted employment with Fitbit, according to an announcement from Acting U.S. Attorney Alex G. Tse and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin.

Fitbit and Jawbone are competitors in making wearable fitness trackers, and both are based in San Francisco.

Each of the defendants worked for Jawbone for at least one year between May 2011 and April 2015, and had signed a confidentiality agreement with the company, according to the Department of Justice.

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Some of the defendants received offers of employment from Fitbit while they still worked at Jawbone and quickly left Jawbone to work there, while one of them accepted employment from Fitbit months after resigning from Jawbone.

“Intellectual property is the heart of innovation and economic development in Silicon Valley,” Tse said in the news release. “The theft of trade secrets violates federal law, stifles innovation, and injures the rightful owners of that intellectual property.”

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count, followed by a maximum three years supervised release, according to the news release.

“While we …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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