An International Trade Commission (ITC) judge has ruled that Apple has violated one of the patents held by the medical technology company Masimo. The patent is about the use of light sensors for measuring the oxygen level in the blood on the Apple Watch. This ruling is the outcome of a long-standing dispute between the two companies over several health features featured in some Apple Watch models.
Masimo has been pushing to have certain Apple Watch models banned in the United States. Apple added Pulse oximetry function to the Apple Watch with the Series 6 model, which uses light to detect the oxygen level in the blood, in addition to other features such as heart rate monitoring and ECG capabilities.
In June 2021, Masimo filed a patent infringement lawsuit with the ITC, requesting the commission to halt the imports of the Apple Watch Series 6 due to patent infringements related to the blood oxygen monitoring feature. The judge, in this case, determined that four other patents at issue were not infringed.
Currently, the ITC is reviewing whether to implement an import ban on some Apple Watch models that include this feature, with a final decision expected to be made by May 10th.
Masimo CEO Joe Kiani commented on the judge’s decision saying, “We are pleased that the judge acknowledged Apple’s infringement of Masimo’s pulse oximetry technology and took this critical first step towards accountability. Today’s decision should help restore fairness in the market. Apple has also 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 contrast, Apple has expressed its disagreement with the ruling stating, “We respectfully disagree with today’s decision and look forward to a full review by the Commission.”
As the ITC continues to evaluate the case and make its final decision, it will be fascinating to see the overall outcome and the effect it will have on the future of the Apple Watch and its health-monitoring capabilities. It remains to be seen if it will implement an import ban on the Apple Watch.