Mobile ECG device firm AliveCor sues Apple for alleged patent infringement

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in General Discussion
Medical device company AliveCor has levied a lawsuit against Apple alleging that the Apple Watch electrocardiogram feature infringes on a trio of its patents.

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


The lawsuit, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on Monday, claims that the ECG functionality on the Apple Watch Series 4 and later infringes on its intellectual property related to use wearable sensors to improve cardiac monitoring technology.

According to the complaint, AliveCor's patents -- numbered 10,595,761 10,638,941, and 9,572,499 -- "explain state of the art in arrhythmia diagnosis, the limitations in known diagnostic techniques and diagnostic equipment, and the need for the inventors' improvement in diagnostic techniques and equipment."

All three patents focus on monitoring for cardiac arrhythmias, or an irregular heartbeat. The patented technology includes the use of data from wearable devices to aid in diagnosing the condition.

"The claims of the [patents] are novel, unconventional and focus on specific means and methods of using specialized sensors in a wearable device to improve upon existing cardiac monitoring technology," the lawsuit reads.

AliveCor claims that Apple has knowledge of all three patents. As such, it alleges that Apple has willfully infringed, and continues to willfully infringe, on those patents with its Apple Watch line, including the Apple Watch Series 5, which is specifically named in the lawsuit.

AliveCor is the maker of various cardiac monitoring devices, and was the first to debut a consumer ECG device cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. Unlike the Apple Watch, however, use of the KardiaBand needed to be approved by a user's doctor.

After the debut of the ECG capability on the Apple Watch Series 4, AliveCor pulled the KardiaBand from sale, saying it was focused on expanding capabilities in its other mobile cardiac monitoring systems.

The lawsuit on Monday asks for an enjoinment on Apple's alleged infringement, as well as damages, attorney fees, and other legal costs.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    And this is the last we’ll hear of this lawsuit for the next five years at least. File thirteen.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    ‘Apple knew of these patents’ - aka we shook them down to pay us. 

    I hope these ‘on a wearable’ patents get blown up like the ‘on a computing device’ ones.  Better yet, never granted. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    What took AliveCor so long?  ECG started with Series 4, they mention Series 5, and now Apple sells Series 6.

    In fact, I remember AliveCor specifically mentioning how the Series 4 ECG is not as good as its device when the Series 4 first came out.
    And how AliveCor was going to be pushing forward with better hardware like the one that you would touch to your ankle to get six points.
    aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    ‘Apple knew of these patents’ - aka we shook them down to pay us. 

    I hope these ‘on a wearable’ patents get blown up like the ‘on a computing device’ ones.  Better yet, never granted. 

    To be fair, the article mentions that AliveCor was the first one to get a consumer ECG device cleared by the Food and Drug Administration - so they're not a patent troll in the normal sense of the word, and Apple is sure to have been aware of the device and related patents.

    That said, this does not mean that the patents in question are good or that they cover Apple Watch.
    aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 247member
    Do lawsuits against Apple ever get filed anywhere other than Texas?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    xyzzy01 said:
    ‘Apple knew of these patents’ - aka we shook them down to pay us. 

    I hope these ‘on a wearable’ patents get blown up like the ‘on a computing device’ ones.  Better yet, never granted. 

    To be fair, the article mentions that AliveCor was the first one to get a consumer ECG device cleared by the Food and Drug Administration - so they're not a patent troll in the normal sense of the word, and Apple is sure to have been aware of the device and related patents.

    That said, this does not mean that the patents in question are good or that they cover Apple Watch.
    I remember several years ago participating in a A-Fib study that utilized AliveCore’s two finger probe reading device. I don’t know how Apple integrated that capability and technology of reading ECG  in a watch but it makes reading ECG’s a whole lot easier and convenient.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    Alivecor is a real trailblazer with real IP in this space.  Unfortunately, patent laws today do not favor small practicing entities that are the true innovators in today's marketplace.  Hopefully Alivecor can see their day in court. It will, however, be a long road. 
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