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Fitbug takes on Fitbit in name trademark battle

A London-based e-health company known as Fitbug has filed suit against health gadget maker Fitbit, arguing that Fitbit's name is confusingly similar to Fitbug, hurting the Fitbug business.

Fitbug launched in 2005 and offers a fitness-tracking service via electronic tracking devices, as well as web-based nutrition advice, and digital coaching. Its most recent product, the Fitbug Orb, debuted at CES.

Fitbit debuted in 2007 and offers activity trackers and smart scales.

In a Friday statement, Fitbug argued that consumers wrongly assume that Fitbug and Fitbit are related. People have called and emailed Fitbug asking for help with their Fitbit devices, and business partners have confused to the two firms.

Fitbug also claims that Fitbit's logos and other marketing materials are "markedly similar" to those of Fitbug. That includes the use of faceless, exercising silhouettes, according to documents provided by Fitbug.

"The stakes are clear: Fitbug believes that the confusion is causing irreparable damage to its business as it expands in a digital health market that in the US is forecast to almost double to $1.5 billion by next year," a Fitbug spokeswoman said.

Fitbit is violating the Trademark Act, according to the suit, which was filed in California.

In a statement, Fitbit said it "is very proud of our fantastic products and reputation, which we have earned solely through the tremendous efforts of the Fitbit team. We are surprised by the allegations contained in Fitbug's complaint. We are confident of our legal position in the case and look forward to addressing the allegations in court."