Biz Break: Fitbit gets to throw more punches at Jawbone

Top Of The Order:  

And Another Punch Is Thrown: The ongoing war between Fitbit and Jawbone shifted in favor of Fitbit Thursday, with the San Francisco maker of wearable athletic bands getting some more ammunition that it hopes will knock Jawbone off the wearables battlefield.

On Thursday, the U.S. International Trade Commission said that Fitbit can go forward with its efforts to try to block Jawbone’s products that are made in Asia from being sold in the U.S. At the center of the ITC’s ruling are two Fitbit patents that a trade judge had earlier declared covered ideas that were ineligible for legal protection. Those patents covered a wearable heart-rate monitor and methods to operate a portable monitoring device. There was a third Fitbit patent that the ITC declared to be invalid.

But, since the courts are involved, and Fitbit and Jawbone don’t like each other that much, this case is far from over.

“The Commission did not find Fitbit’s patents valid.  It just sent the case back for additional proceedings before the same judge that previously found all three Fitbit patents invalid,” said Jawbone, in a statement.  “We are confident the Judge will reach the same result again after he makes the additional findings requested by the Commission.”

But for Fitbit, the ruling can be nothing less than a victory, as it gives the company the ability to fight on and try to push Jawbone more and more toward the fringes of the wearables market. Just this week, research firm IDC said Fitbit remained the top seller of wearables worldwide, with shipments of 5.4 million units in the second quarter of the year. That total was good enough for 25 percent of the worldwide wearable market share. Jawbone didn’t even make it into the top five vendors.

Middle Innings: 

You Can’t Spell Apigee Without A-P-I: Google broke out he checkbook Thursday so it could spent $625 million to acquire Apigee. That total was a 6.5 percent premium over where Apigee’s stock price closed on Wednesday.

All of this begs two questions: What is Apigee? And what does it do?

Apigee makes a kind of software called application programming interfaces, aka, APIs. These are used extensively in e-commerce, and allow things like orders between product suppliers and shippers to be processed via mobile apps. Google sees adding technology like that of Apigee’s as boosting its own enterprise-cloud and e-commerce business offerings.

Live Long And…: Well, what can one say about “Star Trek” that hasn’t been said in the last 50 years. Yes, that’s right. Half a century has passed since Montreal’s finest export, William Shatner, stepped into the role of Capt. James T. Kirk and set the starship Enterprise off on mission to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Well, leave it to Facebook to mark “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary in that most-Facebook of ways.

On Thursday, Facebook turned its list of reactions into images reflecting “Star Trek” characters. The one for Haha is made to look like Capt. Kirk. Mr. Spock is in place of Wow a Klingon face can be used for Angry. And Spock’s own Vulcan salute hand gesture can be used to say you Love something.

There is a catch, however…Not all Facebook users have access to the “Star Trek” reactions, which will be available for a short time in the U.S. and Canada.

As the Enterprise captain himself might say, “Kirk, out.”

Bottom Of The Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Thursday…

Movin’ On Up: Gains came from Sigma Designs, Synaptics, Zynga, Depomed and VMware.

In The Red: Decliners included Advanced Micro Devices, Rocket Fuel, Twitter, Solar City and Omnicell.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 0.5 percent to end the day at 5,259.48.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day off by 0.3 percent at 18,479.91.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index pared back by 0.2 percent to finish at 2,181.30.

Quote Of The Day: “I think when he calls me ‘brilliant’, I’ll take the compliment.” — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, during Wednesday night’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on NBC.

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Photo: Fitbit Alta products on display in February in New York. (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Fitbit)


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