Apple Watch infringes Masimo pulse oximetry patent, rules judge

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited January 11
The International Trade Commission (ITC) has backed medical firm Masimo in its case alleging patent infringement in the blood oxygen sensors of the Apple Watch.




Masimo's complaint with the ITC followed its 2020 lawsuit against Apple over the same accusation. The filing with the ITC was then in June 2021, and the aim in both cases is to see a ban on the Apple Watch Series 6 and later.

The number of specific patents concerned varies between the lawsuit and the ITC complaint. The ITC judge has ruled that Apple violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by infringing on one of Masimo's patents.

"We are happy that the ALJ recognized Apple's infringement of Masimo's pulse oximetry technology and took this critical first step toward accountability," Joe Kiani, Masimo CEO wrote in a statement sent to AppleInsider. "Today's decision should help restore fairness in the market. Apple has similarly infringed on other companies' technologies, and we believe today's ruling exposes Apple as a company that takes other companies' innovations and repackages them."

In a statement to Reuters, an Apple spokesperson said that "We respectfully disagree with today's decision, and look forward to a full review by the Commission."

It's in that full review that the ITC will now consider a ban on the Apple Watch.

Masimo is not the only company pressing for a ban over the Apple Watch's health features allegedly infringing on other firms' patents. The ITC has previously also backed AliveCor's allegation that Apple infringed on its ECG technology.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Ok, so Apple cuts a check for how much?
    grandact73lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Applejacs said:
    Ok, so Apple cuts a check for how much?

    Ideally, it would be the amount of money they made from the infringement.  But for a long time, it's been well worth it for Apple to infringe and then pay some pittance to make the problem go away.  The only way to stop infringement is to impose penalties that actually matter.

    I know exactly how likely that is though, given how much corporations "contribute to" legislators.
    williamlondonOfer
  • Reply 3 of 12
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,821member
    Applejacs said:
    Ok, so Apple cuts a check for how much?

    Ideally, it would be the amount of money they made from the infringement.  But for a long time, it's been well worth it for Apple to infringe and then pay some pittance to make the problem go away.  The only way to stop infringement is to impose penalties that actually matter.

    I know exactly how likely that is though, given how much corporations "contribute to" legislators.
    Pray, tell.  How do you calculate how much Apple made from the claimed infringement?  If such a simple matter you should be able to enlighten us on the method. 

    (I said “claimed” as the matter is not settled. This was just the next step). 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    chadbag said:
    Applejacs said:
    Ok, so Apple cuts a check for how much?

    Ideally, it would be the amount of money they made from the infringement.  But for a long time, it's been well worth it for Apple to infringe and then pay some pittance to make the problem go away.  The only way to stop infringement is to impose penalties that actually matter.

    I know exactly how likely that is though, given how much corporations "contribute to" legislators.
    Pray, tell.  How do you calculate how much Apple made from the claimed infringement?  If such a simple matter you should be able to enlighten us on the method. 

    (I said “claimed” as the matter is not settled. This was just the next step). 

    Pray tell, where did I say it would be simple?  I don't seen it; enlighten me.
    williamlondonOfer
  • Reply 5 of 12
    chadbag said:
    Applejacs said:
    Ok, so Apple cuts a check for how much?

    Ideally, it would be the amount of money they made from the infringement.  But for a long time, it's been well worth it for Apple to infringe and then pay some pittance to make the problem go away.  The only way to stop infringement is to impose penalties that actually matter.

    I know exactly how likely that is though, given how much corporations "contribute to" legislators.
    Pray, tell.  How do you calculate how much Apple made from the claimed infringement?  If such a simple matter you should be able to enlighten us on the method. 

    (I said “claimed” as the matter is not settled. This was just the next step). 
    Simple. File the case in that county in Texas that seems to be good at adding massive punitive damages to these cases, so the infringer ends up on the hook for hundreds of millions (which gets reduced later by some other court, but is still a big enough number to mater).
    williamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Applejacs said:
    Ok, so Apple cuts a check for how much?

    Ideally, it would be the amount of money they made from the infringement.  But for a long time, it's been well worth it for Apple to infringe and then pay some pittance to make the problem go away.  The only way to stop infringement is to impose penalties that actually matter.

    I know exactly how likely that is though, given how much corporations "contribute to" legislators.
    Apple starts paying licensing fee for every AppleWatch sold?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 12
    This will end up being a case of Apple paying some pittance to the company and it all goes away. The amount will be more than Masimo would have ever gotten in profits from the entirety of it's holdings, yet will be next to nothing for Apple, Inc.
    edited January 11 gatorguybageljoeydanox
  • Reply 8 of 12
    Applejacs said:
    Ok, so Apple cuts a check for how much?

    Ideally, it would be the amount of money they made from the infringement.  But for a long time, it's been well worth it for Apple to infringe and then pay some pittance to make the problem go away.  The only way to stop infringement is to impose penalties that actually matter.

    I know exactly how likely that is though, given how much corporations "contribute to" legislators.
    Apple starts paying licensing fee for every AppleWatch sold?
    If you mean including every watch ever sold, I'd agree.  It also wouldn't hurt my feelings if, in general, infringers were deprived of the profits they made from infringement, at least back to the date they knew they were infringing.

  • Reply 9 of 12
    I'd like to see me detail on what was actually infringed.  Was it the core technology of the product(circuits & components)? or was the patent something ridiculously simple like "a wearable that displays blood oxygen saturation on a screen". 
    danox
  • Reply 10 of 12
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,527member
    proto732 said:
    I'd like to see me detail on what was actually infringed.  Was it the core technology of the product(circuits & components)? or was the patent something ridiculously simple like "a wearable that displays blood oxygen saturation on a screen". 
    If it’s like most medical equipment sitting in a hospital,, it’s probably something that sits in a room and is the size or was the size of a baby elephant. A machine that was never designed to be portable.

    Apple comes along and makes it portable (smaller) and all those companies that made medical devices in the past are mad because they have been disrupted. At some point, Apple will add blood pressure monitoring to the Apple Watch, and some company will come out of the woodwork and sue them for that too.

    Every additional add to the Apple Watch, that involves medical information, monitoring, or anything else you can think of Apple will be sued, particularly in the United States where the medical industry in general is out of control cost wise.
    edited January 12
  • Reply 11 of 12
    This is stupid.  Pulse oximetry has been around since the '70s.  The USPTO needs to stop awarding invalid patents.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 1,016member
    proto732 said:
    I'd like to see me detail on what was actually infringed.  Was it the core technology of the product(circuits & components)? or was the patent something ridiculously simple like "a wearable that displays blood oxygen saturation on a screen". 
    Here is the wording of the only 2 claims (from 1 patent) which the ITC judge found to be infringed by Apple. Masimo asserted 5 patents, but the judge didn't find infringement of the other 4 patents.


    Claim 20 (which wasn't found to be infringed):
    20. A user-worn device configured to non-invasively determine measurements of a user's tissue, the user-worn device comprising:
    a plurality of light emitting diodes (LEDs);
    at least four photodiodes configured to receive light emitted by the LEDs, the four photodiodes being arranged to capture light at different quadrants of tissue of a user;
    a protrusion comprising a convex surface and a plurality of through holes, each through hole including a window and arranged over a different one of the at least four photodiodes; and
    one or more processors configured to receive one or more signals from at least one of the photodiodes and determine measurements of oxygen saturation of the user.


    Claim 24 (which was found to be infringed):

    The user-worn device of claim 20, wherein the protrusion comprises opaque material configured to substantially prevent light piping.


    And Claim 30 (which was also found to be infringed):

    The user-worn device of claim 20, wherein the protrusion further comprises one or more chamfered edges.


    EDIT: Correction... The ITC judge did find that a few other claims were infringed, but found that those claims were invalid or otherwise unenforceable.

    edited January 12 muthuk_vanalingamproto732
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