Mobile ECG specialist AliveCor seeks US Apple Watch ban

Posted:
in Apple Watch
AliveCor, a company that markets consumer ECG hardware and services, is taking its patent infringement suit against Apple a step further with a complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Apple Watch Series 6


The mobile ECG firm is seeking an import ban on all infringing Apple Watch models including Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 5. Apple's latest Apple Watch Series 6 was not named in an earlier lawsuit on which the complaint is based, though it can be surmised that the device is in AliveCor's crosshairs.

AliveCor in a statement released Tuesday said filing in the ITC "is one step, among others, AliveCor is taking to obtain relief for Apple's intentional copying of AliveCor's patented technology-- including the ability to take an ECG reading on the Apple Watch, and to perform heartrate analysis-- as well as Apple's efforts to eliminate AliveCor as competition in the heartrate analysis market for the Apple Watch."

Yesterday's press release touts a decade of investments in "advanced, AI-powered cardiological detection" and paints AliveCor's KardiaMobile, KardiaBand, KardiaMobile 6L and SmartRhythm AI as market-changing products. KardiaMobile, for example, is lauded by its maker as the "most clinically-validated" consumer ECG in the world, while KardiaBand was -- ironically -- the first FDA-cleared medical device accessory for Apple Watch.

AliveCor filed suit against Apple in December, claiming the tech giant's integration of ECG hardware and supporting software infringe on three patents detailing methods of detecting and monitoring cardiac arrhythmias with wearable devices.

Apple Watch's ECG functionality is designed to detect a potentially deadly heart condition called atrial fibrillation, or AFib, using technology similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. The device has been credited with saving multiple lives, a fact Apple regularly references, and sometimes spotlights, at special events.

AliveCor has been chasing Apple since the launch of Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018. Prior to the wearable's release, AliveCor led the -- arguably niche -- mobile ECG segment with FDA-approved hardware and advanced detection software. Following Apple's entry into the category, AliveCor mounted a media offensive and told press outlets, including AppleInsider, that it was first to receive FDA approval. While true, AliveCor's solution required a doctor to review and "unlock" the device's first ECG reading, while Apple's does not.

The company halted sales of the Apple Watch-tagalong KardiaBand in August 2019, saying it decided to focus on other mobile solutions.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,157member
    Ffffff offffff. Patents protect implementations, no ideas. I will bet dollars to donuts there is no stolen implementation (code) and instead boils down to a claim that they thought of the idea first. 

    This is why software patents were a horrible mistake. Code is already protected by copyright, and I seriously doubt anybody is stealing code. Shops are writing their own code, thus their implementations of the ideas in question are unique. Just like if somebody manufactured a device to solve an existing problem, but did so with unique plans & parts. That's non-infringing, and that's what nearly anybody's software is -- unique. 
    Alex1NJWSCmacplusplusEsquireCatslongpathkillroymuthuk_vanalingampslicejony0viclauyyc
  • Reply 2 of 21
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,106member
    The ITC has a role in resolving legal issues regarding trade and importation. It isn't a court, and doesn't use a jury, but its findings can be reviewed by a court.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_International_Trade_Commission

    I think AliveCor is considering the Apple Watch to be an imported product, therefore it may fall under the ITC's jurisdiction. I've always thought of Apple products as American products, but maybe I'm wrong on that. Maybe all of Apple's products are "foreign products" and are therefore subject to ITC jurisdiction.

    Alex1Njony0
  • Reply 3 of 21
    🥱here we go again.
    pslicedysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,496member
    The ITC has a role in resolving legal issues regarding trade and importation. It isn't a court, and doesn't use a jury, but its findings can be reviewed by a court.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_International_Trade_Commission

    I think AliveCor is considering the Apple Watch to be an imported product, therefore it may fall under the ITC's jurisdiction. I've always thought of Apple products as American products, but maybe I'm wrong on that. Maybe all of Apple's products are "foreign products" and are therefore subject to ITC jurisdiction.

    Apple products, like 90% of all products sold in the USA, should not be considered imported. They are merely manufactured by a contracted company for sale by Apple. If the ITC considers them imported then 99% of electronic devices are imported, 99% of clothing is imported and, unfortunately, 90% of printed goods are imported. Does the ITC really want to go there?
    Alex1Nfotoformatlongpathkillroyjony0viclauyycdysamoriapujones1watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,430member
    Ffffff offffff. Patents protect implementations, no ideas. I will bet dollars to donuts there is no stolen implementation (code) and instead boils down to a claim that they thought of the idea first. 

    This is why software patents were a horrible mistake. Code is already protected by copyright, and I seriously doubt anybody is stealing code. Shops are writing their own code, thus their implementations of the ideas in question are unique. Just like if somebody manufactured a device to solve an existing problem, but did so with unique plans & parts. That's non-infringing, and that's what nearly anybody's software is -- unique. 
    The code doesn’t have to be stolen for it to be infringement (I’m not saying it is infringement).  If they can show that Apple is using patented material, even inadvertently, they can win.  And it’s not just the actual implementation that’s at issue.  The more correct term is “method.”   If the infringement is proven to be willful, damages can be tripled.  

    This case may not have any merit but it doesn’t bother me like the patent troll cases do. That is where we need to actual reform.  At least this company has actual products.  
    JWSCentropyskillroyjony0williamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 21
    For ECG specific application - AliveCor is the world leader. 
    Apple watch primary function is not ECG - but a big selling point. 

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple buy AliveCor. Which would be a shame - the Kardia devices are exceptional. 


    pslicewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 720member
    The days of doing almost 'anything' without getting sued are almost completely here.  While those who patent, copyright, trademark, or heck even claim a domain name, do nothing but sit back... stupidiest thing in the world with this "High School", I was first elitism, 'That's my shirt' or 'Those are my shoes' mentality just rears it's silly head!

    Hope we'll all be able to still work somedays in the future...

    If there is anything left!
    killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    rezwits said:
    The days of doing almost 'anything' without getting sued are almost completely here.  While those who patent, copyright, trademark, or heck even claim a domain name, do nothing but sit back... stupidiest thing in the world with this "High School", I was first elitism, 'That's my shirt' or 'Those are my shoes' mentality just rears it's silly head!

    Hope we'll all be able to still work somedays in the future...

    If there is anything left!
    I don’t know about the merits of this individual case, but as pointed out already, there’s a significant difference between this, where there’s an actual product in question, and patent trolls who sit on unimplemented patents waiting to strike at anything that seems sort of close, looking for a payday to go away. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    I wonder if it is the software they are contesting?

    Polar (and others) have had single lead EKGs for years prior to the Apple Watch Series 4.   They are single lead EKG devices (like the Apple Watch) and send a Bluetooth LE single to a smart phone which would record and display the wearer's heart rate.   They are are actually more precise and accurate than the Apple Watch.

    But, to the best of my knowledge, none of the software on the smart phones translated that heart rate signal to detect an irregular heart rate much less into an EKG wave.  Perhaps that is the part they are cotesting?   The interpretation of the heart rate signal from the sensor.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    It sounds to me like they are sour grapes about Apple rendering their band product irrelevant, and are taking every step possible to frighten Apple into a high dollar settlement. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,131member
    It sounds to me like they are sour grapes about Apple rendering their band product irrelevant, and are taking every step possible to frighten Apple into a high dollar settlement. 
    Their actions actually highlights why Apple makes its own stuff. They decided to focus on other mobile platforms in 2019. A decision any 3rd party can make at anytime and leave Apple users in the cold as has been done time and time again. 
    DnykjpRfC6fnBswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,208member
    The patent system is absolutely, utterly, and completely broken wherever it intersects with the computer industry.

    With there already being thousands of things broken with our society that our lawmakers can’t be arsed to fix, this shit isn’t even close to being fixed. At this point, the majority of everything is just resource wastage.
    macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    doggonedoggone Posts: 276member
    As with many of these patent cases, the plaintiff has taken several years to make a claim.  Apple Watch's EKG capability is widely known and I can't see how the plaintiff didn't know of this claimed issue within months of the first watch being released.
    GeorgeBMacpujones1watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21
    flydogflydog Posts: 926member
    Ffffff offffff. Patents protect implementations, no ideas. I will bet dollars to donuts there is no stolen implementation (code) and instead boils down to a claim that they thought of the idea first. 

    This is why software patents were a horrible mistake. Code is already protected by copyright, and I seriously doubt anybody is stealing code. Shops are writing their own code, thus their implementations of the ideas in question are unique. Just like if somebody manufactured a device to solve an existing problem, but did so with unique plans & parts. That's non-infringing, and that's what nearly anybody's software is -- unique. 
    Did you even bother to SKIM the article before posting this nonsense?

    It clearly states that AliveCor manufactured, among other products, ECG wrist bands for the Apple Watch. 
    Peza
  • Reply 15 of 21
    flydogflydog Posts: 926member

    doggone said:
    As with many of these patent cases, the plaintiff has taken several years to make a claim.  Apple Watch's EKG capability is widely known and I can't see how the plaintiff didn't know of this claimed issue within months of the first watch being released.
    What’s the difference? The statute of limitations is six years. 
    Peza
  • Reply 16 of 21
    flydogflydog Posts: 926member

    It sounds to me like they are sour grapes about Apple rendering their band product irrelevant, and are taking every step possible to frighten Apple into a high dollar settlement. 
    And that’s a bad thing?  You’d do things differently if you ran AliveCor?
  • Reply 17 of 21
    flydog said:

    It sounds to me like they are sour grapes about Apple rendering their band product irrelevant, and are taking every step possible to frighten Apple into a high dollar settlement. 
    And that’s a bad thing?  You’d do things differently if you ran AliveCor?
    It’d be nice if everyone would do things differently. Once upon a time, not even that long ago, people (in general) had morals and character even in business. But then moral relativity developed more and more influence which led to people judging the rightness of things, including business, based on their feelings. And so we are at a point where people justify manipulative behaviour by others because they’re ‘just trying to save their business’.

    We should recognise when our usefulness has run its course. It sucks but nothing lasts forever. We should handle it with character and regroup and work toward building another solution.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 21
    I'd like to point out that I've had patented the overall concept of a buttplug that can read ECG, EEG, and EMG for medical problems. It's built around an haptic feedback UI, wireless connectivity—supports with FindMy network—and have all day battery life!

    Now I'm just waiting for Apple to get into the buttplug market, so I can sue, and make a fortune.
    MisterKitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 21
    roakeroake Posts: 737member
    Zeebler said:
    For ECG specific application - AliveCor is the world leader. 
    Apple watch primary function is not ECG - but a big selling point. 

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple buy AliveCor. Which would be a shame - the Kardia devices are exceptional. 


    As a physician, I’ve always felt that AliveKor products were subpar.  They do little to remove artifact, and they charge you a very expensive subscription just to be able to see previous 1-lead EKG’s that you have recorded on your own device.

    I’m not sure why you would say the Apple Watch cannot do an EKG.  Both these devices perform a 1-lead EKG (AliveKor and Apple Watch).
    edited April 23 roundaboutnowMisterKitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 21
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 413member
    Next thing you know musicians will be sued for using C, F, and G. /s
    watto_cobra
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