Earlier this year, medical device maker Masimo filed a complaint against Apple alleging that the tech giant had stolen information and trade secrets for sensor technologies that have become features of its Apple Watches. Now, Masimo is claiming that Apple’s attempts to stay the case are merely thinly veiled attempts to sell more smartwatches.
In its complaint filed back in January, Masimo alleged that it met with Apple confidentially in 2013 to discuss Masimo’s sensor technology, a meeting that was allegedly followed by Apple attempting to poach Masimo employees—including, notably, Masimo’s chief medical officer Michael O’Reilly (who now works for Apple’s health projects division). Masimo claims that while working for Apple, former Masimo employees filed patents for technologies used on various iterations of the Apple Watch that they had knowledge of being in development at Masimo and Masimo spin-off Cercacor.
Allegations of information theft for a marquee feature, and as the company accused does the corporate equivalent of tweeting through it for a new product launch? Pft, that doesn’t sound familiar at all. (Cough Quibi cough.)
Now, following Apple’s attempts to halt proceedings, Masimo has claimed that “customers that purchase Series 6 are unlikely to purchase competitive products later.
“Just as it has done in numerous other markets, Apple seeks to use its considerable resources and ecosystem to capture the market without regard for Plaintiffs’ patents,” the filing continues.
The company has especially zeroed in on the blood oxygen measurement tool that’s new to the Series 6, which debuted this month.
“I believe we will be harmed in the marketplace if the pending litigation against Apple is stayed. Currently, we are competing against Apple for sales to consumers of products that measure pulse rate and/or oxygen saturation,” Masimo founder and chief Joe Kiani said in a filing this week. “While Series 6 does not appear to include clinical-grade pulse oximetry, I have seen reports from consumers and others suggesting that the Series 6 be used as a medical product. Not only will that harm consumers themselves, it will also reduce our opportunities to sell truly clinical-grade products to consumers.”
To be clear, Apple has repeatedly said the Series 6 is “not intended for medical use, including self-diagnosis or consultation with a doctor, and are only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes.”
Bloomberg earlier reported this week’s filing targeting a key feature of the Series 6. Apple did not immediately return a request for comment. A spokesperson for Masimo provided the following statement by email.
“Plaintiffs allege patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation, and seek ownership of and correction of inventorship to a number of patents Apple filed,” the statement read. “The complaint alleges that those patents filed by Apple list Plaintiffs’ former executive as an inventor, and were filed on technology the executive worked on at Plaintiffs. Apple is asking the court to put the case on hold pending completion of Inter Partes Reviews Apple filed for some of Masimo’s patents at the U.S. Patent Office. The U.S. Patent Office has not acted on Apple’s request for review yet.”
Are you not entertained? Because we certainly are.
Added comment from Masimo.