Masimo alleges Apple is delaying legal fight to boost Apple Watch market share

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
Medical technology company Masimo is accusing Apple of delaying their patent legal fight in order to sell more Apple Watch models.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


Masimo filed a lawsuit in January accusing Apple of infringing on 10 of its patents. It also alleged that Apple promised a working relationship, but turned out to actually stole secrets and poached key employees.

Apple hasn't responded to the allegations, but has moved to dismiss parts of the case and lodged petitions to invalidate Masimo patents. In a court filing spotted by Bloomberg on Tuesday, Masimo claims that the Cupertino tech giant is strategically delaying the trial.

The Cupertino tech giant has petitioned the trial court to keep the case on hold while the trade secret allegations and patent invalidation requests are being considered, a move that it says will narrow the issues at hand and "reduce wasted resources."

But any delay in the trial, Masimo contends, "would allow Apple to on a critical window of opportunity to capture an emerging field. Just as it has done in numerous other markets, Apple seeks to use its considerable resources and ecosystem to capture the market without regard."

Masimo, based in Irvine, Calif., produces and sells various medical sensors and health monitors. In its filing, it said that it fears Apple will use its power to stifle competition to the Apple Watch, including the new blood oxygen sensor-equipped Apple Watch Series 6.

Apple has sold Masimo's products on its online storefront in the past. For example, the MightySat fingertip pulse oximeter was available directly from Apple's website but has since been removed sometime between January and September. Apple does typically remove products from its online store when it's embroiled in legal fights with their manufacturers.

"I have seen reports from consumers and others suggesting that the Series 6 be used as a medical product," Masimo CEO Joe Kiani said in the filing. "Not only will that harm consumers themselves, it will also reduce our opportunities to sell truly clinical-grade products to consumers."

The brief also claims that Apple initially dodged queries about whether future Apple Watch models would have a blood oxygen sensor -- one of the patented technologies involved in the original lawsuit. At the time, Apple dismissed those claims as "Internet rumors."

U.S. District Judge James Selna has set a series of dates on the case, with the first hearing to be held in April -- unless the delays are done away with sooner.

Updated with information about Apple's decision to remove Masimo's MightySat from its online store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,527member
    I hope this isn't true. Would hate to see Apple use the same scumbag techniques as Microsoft, Google and Samscum.

    I wonder what "patents" Apple copied since Apple doesn't make knockoff Masimo products. I don't get their "market share argument in this regard since they aren't in the same market. It's like Coca Cola complaining that Cheerios is taking their market share because they both involve sugar.

    "The brief also claims that Apple initially dodged queries about whether future Apple Watch models would have a blood oxygen sensor "

    You mean like they do everything? Apple hardly ever reveals features from future products. Sorry Masimo, this isn't uncommon from Apple.

    Seems like Masimo is butthurt that employees left them for Apple more than anything.
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Well, Apple can’t claim that it’s a medical product, unless it has an FDA approval (unlikely), so that argument falls apart. 
    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    The sensors in the Apple Watch aren’t unique, but they attract these patent lawsuits, one may recall apple also successfully fended off a lawsuit regarding the photoplethysmogram feature (heart rate sensor.)

    These concepts aren’t new, and there is an abundance of prior art for each. Apple’s challenge has mostly been building wrist-borne accuracy and regulatory related hurdles.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,107member
    In other news Ferrari sues Ford for manufacturing transportation devices that do a similar job.

    this Suit basically says Apple has produced a good enough product to take market share away from me. Market share they don’t seem to have anyway.
    Gabymike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    The sensors in the Apple Watch aren’t unique, but they attract these patent lawsuits, one may recall apple also successfully fended off a lawsuit regarding the photoplethysmogram feature (heart rate sensor.)

    These concepts aren’t new, and there is an abundance of prior art for each. Apple’s challenge has mostly been building wrist-borne accuracy and regulatory related hurdles.
    As Apple grows larger, you can expect more and more of these lawsuits to accumulate. Everyone thinks they've been damaged by the behemoth, and everyone wants to collect a portion of that pie.

    Take a look at Koss - a headphone maker - suing Apple for God-knows-what Bluetooth technology.

    Why go after Apple?

    Advise of the lawyers: Go where the money is.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,107member
    Masimo filed a lawsuit in January accusing Apple of infringing on 10 of its patents. It also alleged that Apple promised a working relationship, but turned out to actually stole secrets and poached key employees.

    This bit might be a bit concerning if Apple stole secrets. Hard to know what they might be, as it is all a bit vague, but if I was an employee looking for a new job I would not want my old company trying to discourage it by going after the new boss.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11

    Advise of the lawyers: Go where the money is.

    You forgot to add...
    "and where we can make the most money from you over the next 3-5 years"

    Lawyers very rarely lose out in court cases.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    If the plaintiffs are right--that they invented and patented technologies that Apple deployed in Apple Watches--then they should be happy the longer this takes to resolve.  The more Apple Watches sold, the higher the eventual damages or settlement.

    I hope Apple didn't to anything illegal or untoward, but if they did, I expect Masimo will make more money from Apple than they would have from selling their own products.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,314member
    Unlike the usual patent cases against Apple, this one isn't a troll. It will be interesting to see the outcome, Apple is well known for Sherlocking its devs.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,045member
    AI said:
    But any delay in the trial, Masimo contends, "would allow Apple to on a critical window of opportunity to capture an emerging field. Just as it has done in numerous other markets, Apple seeks to use its considerable resources and ecosystem to capture the market without regard."

    They have a valid point in Apple establishing an enviable and possibly a customer base that's very hard for competition to sell to.

    But at $299 for their fingertip device, I don't see the casual user/typical consumer getting a MightySat over an Apple Watch in the first place.

    I don't believe it's illegal to Sherlock a product, and I hope Apple didn't steal any IP from Masimo. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,511member
    If I was a company that manufactured pulse oximeters, I wouldn't complain that the Series 6 has one. Instead, I would launch a marketing campaign that this legitimizes the need for pulse oximeters and if you want one that's approved by medical authorities, get one of ours rather than a toy oximeter from Apple. Here's how I would write an ad for a company that makes a pulse oximeter:

    "Recently a major technology company has just started selling a watch that includes a pulse oximeter. We welcome them to the party. We've been in the party for ten years already. Our products are not only more accurate than theirs, but ours are also approved by the FDA for actual medical diagnostic purposes. Their unapproved device cannot legally be marketed for any medical purposes whatsoever. If your health is important to you, get one of our devices instead. And by the way, you can still manually enter our FDA approved sensor's results into their Health App in about 5 seconds flat. Here's to your health."

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