Apple Watch import ban up to Biden administration after ITC order

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited October 2023

Masimo's patent lawsuit against Apple may end in an Apple Watch ban after an ITC order, but it's up to President Biden's administration and potential appeals that will follow.

Apple Watch sensors
Apple Watch sensors



Masimo filed a lawsuit with the US District Court in 2020 then the ITC in 2021 alleging Apple stole trade secrets and violates patents with the Apple Watch blood pulse oximeter. The ITC ruled in favor of Masimo in January, but the District Court jury trial ended in mistrial and hasn't resumed.

According to a report from Reuters, the ITC has issued an order that could result in an Apple Watch ban on products that violate Masimo's patents. While the order wasn't specific, that would likely include all models released since the Apple Watch Series 6 but not including Apple Watch SE.

The order must go through presidential review within the next 60 days. Apple will be able to appeal the decision if President Biden's administration bans the Apple Watch models from import to the US, so an actual sales ban isn't yet imminent.

"Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple," an Apple spokesperson said. "While today's decision has no immediate impact on sales of Apple Watch, we believe it should be reversed, and will continue our efforts to appeal."

Apple previously counter sued Masimo in 2022, claiming the company sought to clear the path for its own competing smartwatch. That trial hasn't made any progress.

Another lawsuit alleges patent infringement and asks for an Apple Watch ban, but it is from a company called AliveCor. The ITC ruled against Apple in that case, but the ruling is on hold while the validity of AliveCor's patents are investigated.

It isn't clear exactly how long these lawsuits will take or what the ultimate rulings will be. Even if the ITC successfully bans specific Apple Watch models from import, Apple could have altered its designs enough in later models to prevent them from being banned.

Since the ITC hasn't specified which Apple Watch is meant to be blocked from import, Apple may only have to stop sale of a three year old device and pay fines. The best case scenario of course is overturning the verdict and preventing any kind of ban.

These cases will be going on for a long time yet. Stay tuned for more information as it arrives.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    x38x38 Posts: 97member
    Masimo is a publicly traded US company with a current market cap of about $4.35B. Apple reportedly has about $62.5B cash on hand. Why doesn’t Apple just buy Masimo, or at least a controlling interest in the stock, assign itself the patents in dispute, then keep or sell the rest of the company as makes sense.
    Seems like it would be cheaper than all the legal costs in the end.
    watto_cobrazeus423
  • Reply 2 of 20
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,636member
    x38 said:
    Masimo is a publicly traded US company with a current market cap of about $4.35B. Apple reportedly has about $62.5B cash on hand. Why doesn’t Apple just buy Masimo, or at least a controlling interest in the stock, assign itself the patents in dispute, then keep or sell the rest of the company as makes sense.
    Seems like it would be cheaper than all the legal costs in the end.
    I like your train of thought, but Apple probably thinks that the worst case scenario would cost them less than purchasing a controlling interest ($2B). Although technically Apple could re-sell its $2B investment after giving themselves the patent to recoup some of that expense. Don't forget that the market cap probably includes the expected income from the possible win against (or settlement with) Apple, which means the company is worth less than that without a win against Apple.
    ronnwatto_cobrabyronlAlex1N
  • Reply 3 of 20
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 1,146member
    Pulse oximetry was invented in 1974.  That patent is long expired  Putting it in a watch is obvious, and should not be patentable.
    fotoformatravnorodombyronlrob53kurai_kagePauloSeraaAlex1Nzeus423
  • Reply 4 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,703member
    darkvader said:
    Pulse oximetry was invented in 1974.  That patent is long expired  Putting it in a watch is obvious, and should not be patentable.
    There's a lot more to it than that. You can look at recent patents to see the trail of granted patents that lead back to 1974 and beyond.
    byronlAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,387member
    x38 said:
    Masimo is a publicly traded US company with a current market cap of about $4.35B. Apple reportedly has about $62.5B cash on hand. Why doesn’t Apple just buy Masimo, or at least a controlling interest in the stock, assign itself the patents in dispute, then keep or sell the rest of the company as makes sense.
    Seems like it would be cheaper than all the legal costs in the end.
    I like your train of thought, but Apple probably thinks that the worst case scenario would cost them less than purchasing a controlling interest ($2B). Although technically Apple could re-sell its $2B investment after giving themselves the patent to recoup some of that expense. Don't forget that the market cap probably includes the expected income from the possible win against (or settlement with) Apple, which means the company is worth less than that without a win against Apple.
    While I agree Apple is rich and powerful enough to roll the dice and figure out consequences later, it's just not a good look.

    It is not the first time a company has been invited to Apple to discuss a partnership on some feature, only to discover later that it was all a ruse. Apple was only interested in seeing what they came up with and how it was implemented, saving Apple time and expense deciding how to proceed without sharing the fruit.

    IMHO, any company should be extremely wary if Apple reaches out to them, claiming interest in some product they have. I've had two similar though much smaller situations over the years. A certain boat manufacturer got me on the first one. Lesson learned. With the second I required money up-front and my own ND agreement for even a peek at what we had come up with. 
    edited October 2023 HonkersravnorodombyronlPauloSeraaAlex1Nmuthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 6 of 20
    "Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple," an Apple spokesperson said.

    Apple's appeal to irrelevant emotion here is somewhat telling.  Rather than appeal to the facts of the case, they elected to go the "think of the children..." route.

    If Apple actually violated these patents, how much "good" the watch does is irrelevant; they should pay up and/or suffer the consequences.

    If Apple did NOT violate these patents, the facts should be sufficient without an emotional appeal.

    I don't know if they did or not, I just know that the most common reason for an emotional appeal like this one is that they don't believe the facts are sufficient to defend themselves on their own, and they want to distract people from those insufficient facts.

    PauloSeraaAlex1NScot1muthuk_vanalingamavon b7FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 20
    gatorguy said:
    x38 said:
    Masimo is a publicly traded US company with a current market cap of about $4.35B. Apple reportedly has about $62.5B cash on hand. Why doesn’t Apple just buy Masimo, or at least a controlling interest in the stock, assign itself the patents in dispute, then keep or sell the rest of the company as makes sense.
    Seems like it would be cheaper than all the legal costs in the end.
    I like your train of thought, but Apple probably thinks that the worst case scenario would cost them less than purchasing a controlling interest ($2B). Although technically Apple could re-sell its $2B investment after giving themselves the patent to recoup some of that expense. Don't forget that the market cap probably includes the expected income from the possible win against (or settlement with) Apple, which means the company is worth less than that without a win against Apple.
    While I agree Apple is rich and powerful enough to roll the dice and figure out consequences later, it's just not a good look.

    It is not the first time a company has been invited to Apple to discuss a partnership on some feature, only to discover later that it was all a ruse. Apple was only interested in seeing what they came up with and how it was implemented, saving Apple time and expense deciding how to proceed without sharing the fruit.

    IMHO, any company should be extremely wary if Apple reaches out to them, claiming interest in some product they have. I've had two similar though much smaller situations over the years. A certain boat manufacturer got me on the first one. Lesson learned. With the second I required money up-front and my own ND agreement for even a peek at what we had come up with. 
    I’m surprised that many of these smaller companies trust Apple with their trade secrets.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    "Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple," an Apple spokesperson said.

    Apple's appeal to irrelevant emotion here is somewhat telling.  Rather than appeal to the facts of the case, they elected to go the "think of the children..." route.

    If Apple actually violated these patents, how much "good" the watch does is irrelevant; they should pay up and/or suffer the consequences.

    If Apple did NOT violate these patents, the facts should be sufficient without an emotional appeal.

    I don't know if they did or not, I just know that the most common reason for an emotional appeal like this one is that they don't believe the facts are sufficient to defend themselves on their own, and they want to distract people from those insufficient facts.

    I remember a story about a businessman who had invested in the development of a heart stent with some doctors. He was in a business meeting with Johnson & Johnson who wanted to buy the rights and they gave him a lowball offer telling him “just think of all the lives you will be saving”. His response was that he only cared about the money.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 9 of 20
    "Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple," an Apple spokesperson said.

    Apple's appeal to irrelevant emotion here is somewhat telling.  Rather than appeal to the facts of the case, they elected to go the "think of the children..." route.

    If Apple actually violated these patents, how much "good" the watch does is irrelevant; they should pay up and/or suffer the consequences.

    If Apple did NOT violate these patents, the facts should be sufficient without an emotional appeal.

    I don't know if they did or not, I just know that the most common reason for an emotional appeal like this one is that they don't believe the facts are sufficient to defend themselves on their own, and they want to distract people from those insufficient facts.

    Agree 100%. They use a lot of these "think of the children" appeals, notably when discussing side-loading of Apps. It's a giant red flag that their factual arguments don't hold up to scrutiny.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    "Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple," an Apple spokesperson said.

    Apple's appeal to irrelevant emotion here is somewhat telling.  Rather than appeal to the facts of the case, they elected to go the "think of the children..." route.

    If Apple actually violated these patents, how much "good" the watch does is irrelevant; they should pay up and/or suffer the consequences.

    If Apple did NOT violate these patents, the facts should be sufficient without an emotional appeal.

    I don't know if they did or not, I just know that the most common reason for an emotional appeal like this one is that they don't believe the facts are sufficient to defend themselves on their own, and they want to distract people from those insufficient facts.

    I remember a story about a businessman who had invested in the development of a heart stent with some doctors. He was in a business meeting with Johnson & Johnson who wanted to buy the rights and they gave him a lowball offer telling him “just think of all the lives you will be saving”. His response was that he only cared about the money.
    There he goes, pounding sands? J&J or any other money making co do that all the time. Better get some money now and get credited or be forgotten forever 
  • Reply 11 of 20
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,096member
    The idea of measuring type of gas, temperature or pressure of fluid came long before 1920 which means, the idea or concept is in the public domain? I can understand, getting a patent for a specific device or machine to measure something. But how can you get a patent for the very idea of measuring temperature, fluid, gas, or oxygen level no two electronic machines are going to be the same in their solution to the problem. Didn’t Apple, hear something similar with one of their devices….

    https://www.cablesandsensors.com/pages/history-of-pulse-oximetry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse_oximetry According to the article there are huge limitations. The research and development is very much on going, and nothing is certain or cast in stone. So any company can come up with, or is free to come up with a better solution?

    One thing that is ironic (considering that Apple is involved) this company if successful would be granted, a virtual monopoly in the western world. on the very concept of using electronic means to measure temperature, gas, pressure, type, fluid level, this case might be one of the reasons why Apple isn’t offering blood pressure measurement with the Apple Watch.
    edited October 2023 ronnAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,703member
    danox said:
    The idea of measuring type of gas, temperature or pressure of fluid came long before 1920 which means, the idea or concept is in the public domain? I can understand, getting a patent for a specific device or machine to measure something. But how can you get a patent for the very idea of measuring temperature, fluid, gas, or oxygen level no two electronic machines are going to be the same in their solution to the problem. Didn’t Apple, hear something similar with one of their devices….

    https://www.cablesandsensors.com/pages/history-of-pulse-oximetry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse_oximetry According to the article there are huge limitations. The research and development is very much on going, and nothing is certain or cast in stone. So any company can come up with, or is free to come up with a better solution?

    One thing that is ironic (considering that Apple is involved) this company if successful would be granted, a virtual monopoly in the western world. on the very concept of using electronic means to measure temperature, gas, pressure, type, fluid level, this case might be one of the reasons why Apple isn’t offering blood pressure measurement with the Apple Watch.
    It's not the idea or device, but the method, also known as a process. It's one of the four principal categories for utility patents.
    gatorguyronnMrBunsideFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 13 of 20
    thrangthrang Posts: 1,024member
    "Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple," an Apple spokesperson said.

    Apple's appeal to irrelevant emotion here is somewhat telling.  Rather than appeal to the facts of the case, they elected to go the "think of the children..." route.

    If Apple actually violated these patents, how much "good" the watch does is irrelevant; they should pay up and/or suffer the consequences.

    If Apple did NOT violate these patents, the facts should be sufficient without an emotional appeal.

    I don't know if they did or not, I just know that the most common reason for an emotional appeal like this one is that they don't believe the facts are sufficient to defend themselves on their own, and they want to distract people from those insufficient facts.

    Agree 100%. They use a lot of these "think of the children" appeals, notably when discussing side-loading of Apps. It's a giant red flag that their factual arguments don't hold up to scrutiny.
    I believe the argument is more legitimate than you might consider, given it's directed toward the consideration of the impact a ban would have. It's why there is a review process; even if there is some violation by a manufacturer against another, an outright ban, given the offenders product overall benefit (which includes many things not in dispute) may be considered too severe.

    And in a tangential vein, Facebook is being sued by more than half the states for essentially NOT "looking after the children" 

    This will end in some sort of settlement/licensing obviously. They always do.

    As a curious aside, did Apple file (and were they awarded) patents for their invention/implementation of this technology?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Articles used to explain who what when…etc. All this says is “Masimo”. Not even a 1-sentence explanation or clarification on who or what “Masimo” is. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,387member
    Articles used to explain who what when…etc. All this says is “Masimo”. Not even a 1-sentence explanation or clarification on who or what “Masimo” is. 
    Here:


    One of the most surprising things revealed in the courtroom is that pulse optometry on the Apple Watch does not work very well by Apple's own admission. Masimo is still willing to work with Apple to improve the feature to the consumer's benefit despite all the legal drama. 

    muthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 16 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,703member
    gatorguy said:
    Articles used to explain who what when…etc. All this says is “Masimo”. Not even a 1-sentence explanation or clarification on who or what “Masimo” is. 
    Here:
    [video]

    One of the most surprising things revealed in the courtroom is that pulse optometry on the Apple Watch does not work very well by Apple's own admission. Masimo is still willing to work with Apple to improve the feature to the consumer's benefit despite all the legal drama. 

    Do you have proof that Apple has said their pulse ox is shitty to just Masimo claiming it the way Trump claimed that the Michael Cohen said "Trump did nothing wrong"?
  • Reply 17 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,387member
    Xed said:
    gatorguy said:
    Articles used to explain who what when…etc. All this says is “Masimo”. Not even a 1-sentence explanation or clarification on who or what “Masimo” is. 
    Here:
    [video]

    One of the most surprising things revealed in the courtroom is that pulse optometry on the Apple Watch does not work very well by Apple's own admission. Masimo is still willing to work with Apple to improve the feature to the consumer's benefit despite all the legal drama. 

    Do you have proof that Apple has said their pulse ox is shitty to just Masimo claiming it the way Trump claimed that the Michael Cohen said "Trump did nothing wrong"?
    "Shitty" is a bit overboard and dramatic isn't it?

    Anyway, if what he claimed about what was admitted in courtroom documents, and stated as fact in a publicly broadcast interview, is actually a lie, I've no doubt it will be called out as such with proof to the contrary in short order. 
    edited October 2023 muthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 18 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,703member
    gatorguy said:
    Xed said:
    gatorguy said:
    Articles used to explain who what when…etc. All this says is “Masimo”. Not even a 1-sentence explanation or clarification on who or what “Masimo” is. 
    Here:
    [video]

    One of the most surprising things revealed in the courtroom is that pulse optometry on the Apple Watch does not work very well by Apple's own admission. Masimo is still willing to work with Apple to improve the feature to the consumer's benefit despite all the legal drama. 

    Do you have proof that Apple has said their pulse ox is shitty to just Masimo claiming it the way Trump claimed that the Michael Cohen said "Trump did nothing wrong"?
    "Shitty" is a bit overboard and dramatic isn't it?

    Anyway, if what he claimed about what was admitted in courtroom documents, and stated as fact in a publicly broadcast interview, is actually a lie, I've no doubt it will be called out as such with proof to the contrary in short order. 
    1) If something (or someone) doesn’t work very well then it(they) can be described as “shitty” in numerous ways without it being hyperbole. I’ve measured mine against the discrete finger pulse ox I have at home and it seems to work just as well (which may or may not be dependent on my skin). I’ve also read at least one report where it said that all these pulse ox meters work well and work about the same as each other. 

    2) Making a statement on TV is not under oath, which is why — as an apt and currently relevant example — we all see a stark contrast in claims between the MAGA chuckleheads on the stand v on TV.
    edited October 2023 ronn
  • Reply 19 of 20
    I’m surprised that many of these smaller companies trust Apple with their trade secrets.
    and that's the problem you run into as an inventor - you need the patent to protect your IP, but filing the patent makes your ideas available to everyone. In the last 10 years, especially within drug development, we've seen decisions returned where a company is found guilty of infringement. Still, the penalty is a paltry fraction of the money they have or will make. To the point that corporate strategy has become to do whatever you want and throw lawyers at it on the back end. The strategy for inventors is changing as well. We have frequent discussions about what and when to file. 
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 20 of 20
    thrang said:
    "Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple," an Apple spokesperson said.

    Apple's appeal to irrelevant emotion here is somewhat telling.  Rather than appeal to the facts of the case, they elected to go the "think of the children..." route.

    If Apple actually violated these patents, how much "good" the watch does is irrelevant; they should pay up and/or suffer the consequences.

    If Apple did NOT violate these patents, the facts should be sufficient without an emotional appeal.

    I don't know if they did or not, I just know that the most common reason for an emotional appeal like this one is that they don't believe the facts are sufficient to defend themselves on their own, and they want to distract people from those insufficient facts.

    Agree 100%. They use a lot of these "think of the children" appeals, notably when discussing side-loading of Apps. It's a giant red flag that their factual arguments don't hold up to scrutiny.
    I believe the argument is more legitimate than you might consider, given it's directed toward the consideration of the impact a ban would have. It's why there is a review process; even if there is some violation by a manufacturer against another, an outright ban, given the offenders product overall benefit (which includes many things not in dispute) may be considered too severe.

    "You have to let us steal your property because look how much good we're doing with it!  While making truckloads of money from it that we're not going to share with you.  Because we'll get away with it."

    thrang said:
    And in a tangential vein, Facebook is being sued by more than half the states for essentially NOT "looking after the children" 


    Different thing.  Meta took positive action to harm children without regard for the consequences.

    avon b7FileMakerFeller
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