Lawsuit claims Apple Watch infringes on activity monitoring patent

Posted:
in Apple Watch
Apple has been slapped with a new lawsuit alleging that the Apple Watch infringes on a patent related to health devices that monitor physical activity.

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


The complaint, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, accuses Apple of infringing on U.S. Patent No. 6,059,576, titled "Training and Safety Device, System and Method to Aid in Proper Movement During Physical Activity."

According to the complaint, the patent covers a "portable, self-contained device for monitoring movement of body parts during physical activity." It comprises a movement sensor, a power source, and a microprocessor.

Other portions of the patent cover the analysis of data and storing information in memory. It also outlines key components of the device, including a real-time clock and a user input system.

The lawsuit contends that the Apple Watch infringes on the patent because it is a "self-contained device that uses an accelerometer to measure the angle and velocity of body movements, a user-programmable microprocessor capable of recognizing and analyzing data generated by the accelerometer, and internal memory and a clock for storing the data along with a timestamp."

More specifically, the lawsuit names the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series, Apple Watch Series 2, and Apple Watch Series 3 as infringing products. It may also include other Apple Watch models, such as the new Apple Watch Series 6.

In 2017, the plaintiff reportedly contacted Apple to inform it of the infringement. According to the complaint, Apple's general counsel denied the claims. The lawsuit uses the interaction as evidence that Apple is willfully infringing on the intellectual property.

Additionally, the patent points out that the plaintiff requested that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reexamine the IP in 2015 to check the patentability of its claims. The USPTO reportedly reaffirmed the claims, and determined that an additional 156 dependent claims are also patentable.

The plaintiff in the case is non-practicing entity LoganTree, owned by Theodore and Anne Brann. Theodore is the named inventor of the '576 patent.

The lawsuit, which demands a jury trial, asks for damages, attorneys' fees, and other costs. Notably, it doesn't ask for an order barring Apple from continuing the alleged infringement.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,012member
    Yawwwwwnnnnn, yet another non-practicing entity wanting a payoff. Something needs to be done about the patent system and the laws that govern it. But I’m betting the patent attorneys that file these lawsuits are giddy and will fight to the death to keep them the way they are.

    So I can sit down and think up something, with no prototype, patent it, and then sit back and wait until a company like Apple actually engineers, produces, and sells a product, then sue them for patent infringement. Is that how our Patent system is supposed to work? Really?
    edited April 23 jony0killroyuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,546member
    I’m so tired of this sort of thing. You can get a patent for the idea of measuring something with a microprocessor and sensors? Sheesh. 

    Didn’t the USPTO used to require a working model to get a patent?  

    Too bad my grandfather didn’t know about this. He could have patented the idea of communicating electronically over a wire without actually building anything. Later he could have sued Ma Bell for billions. I could have been rich.
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 551member
    Jesus, is there ANYTHING this company can do that is safe from the parasites? How long until someone sues them for the design of the watch bands?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    And what place did they sue Apple again??? Right same darn place in Texas
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 712member
    Wow, that lady on page 3 of the patent…

    The basic concept is pretty interesting for 1997, but the description of the concept (sensor is separate from the microprocessor) and the purpose (monitoring movement to prevent injury) seem unrelated to the Apple Watch.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 757member
    Since the plaintiffs claim Apple reviewed the patent, Apple must have made the decision to build the watch anyway without negotiating a licensing agreement with the plaintiffs. 

    Apple either thought their devices would not infringe or calculated the cost assuming they would be sued. 

    Either way, Apple legal is not surprised, I would think.

    Though I would argue their general description of their patented idea was preceded by the Dick Tracy comics. 
    edited April 23 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 551member
    mknelson said:
    Wow, that lady on page 3 of the patent…

    The basic concept is pretty interesting for 1997, but the description of the concept (sensor is separate from the microprocessor) and the purpose (monitoring movement to prevent injury) seem unrelated to the Apple Watch.
    What lady? And what about her?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    I'm thinking that I should sue Ford, GM, Toyota and Honda over violating my patent of a device that transports people from point A to point B
    /s
  • Reply 9 of 13
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 640member
    I'm thinking that I should sue Ford, GM, Toyota and Honda over violating my patent of a device that transports people from point A to point B
    /s
    Include Tesla, you might get a new semi, ehehehe
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    I'm thinking that I should sue Ford, GM, Toyota and Honda over violating my patent of a device that transports people from point A to point B
    /s
    I got a patent for transportations from A to C. One day I will sue the whole mobility industry.
    🤪
    GeorgeBMackillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Wait, wouldn’t FitBit and other portable health tracking devices also fit in this “infringement” patent? Seems fishy to wait this long to bring up a lawsuit. With this idea, who is next to sue the automakes for coming up with the idea of a horseless carriage?
    killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    killroykillroy Posts: 86member
    lkrupp said:
    Yawwwwwnnnnn, yet another non-practicing entity wanting a payoff. Something needs to be done about the patent system and the laws that govern it. But I’m betting the patent attorneys that file these lawsuits are giddy and will fight to the death to keep them the way they are.

    So I can sit down and think up something, with no prototype, patent it, and then sit back and wait until a company like Apple actually engineers, produces, and sells a product, then sue them for patent infringement. Is that how our Patent system is supposed to work? Really?

    With this crap you can sue every company that make a tread mill.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Wonder why they didn't sue for Nike+, which much more closely resembles the patent described setup.  Both the original version and the iPhone version.
    watto_cobrakillroy
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