Apple Could Be Banned From Selling Apple Watches In The US Due To Patent Infringement

Masimo, a medical tech company sued Apple in 2020 for infringing its pulse oximeter patent.
(credit: Luke Chesser on Unsplash)

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The Apple Watch is a line of smartwatches developed by Apple and it was first announced in September 2014 and was released in April 2015. The device connects to an iPhone to display notifications, send and receive messages and make phone calls, and can also connect to cellular networks for independent phone functionality.

Additionally, it features fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities, with a variety of health-related apps and heart rate monitoring. The first Apple Watch with the pulse oximeter feature was Apple Watch Series 6, released back in 2020. All subsequent models also feature the same tech.

Reuters reports that a judge in the US has decided that Apple has violated one of Masimo’s patents for pulse oximeter by importing and selling certain models of the Apple Watch with technology and parts that use light to measure pulse.

Masimo has announced that the decision now lies with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to decide if they will prohibit the import of these specific Apple Watches.

Apple said that they “disagree with today’s decision, and look forward to a full review by the Commission”. The trillions dollar company could be banned from selling Apple Watch Series 6 and above in the US. The trade commission is an independent organisation from the court, so it may reach a different conclusion.

According to GSMArena, prior to the launch of the initial Apple Watch, Apple attempted to partner with Masimo. However, the CEO of Masimo claims that the purpose of the meeting was for Apple to recruit key employees and gain information and expertise on Masimo products, specifically modern blood oxygen sensor technology used in hospitals.

Following the meeting, Apple did indeed hire Masimo’s chief medical officer. This led Masimo to file a lawsuit against Apple in 2020 for violating 10 of its patents, and request a ban on sales of the Apple Watch in the US.

Masimo is a medical tech company based in Irvine, California and it specialises in body and health monitoring technologies.

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