ECG device-maker accuses Apple Watch of infringing on its patents


Apple Watch heart rate monitor
They want Apple blocked from importing Apple Watches into the U.S.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

AliveCor, a company which makes Apple device-compatible, FDA-cleared ECG devices, has sued Apple for allegedly infringing on three of its patents with the Apple Watch. An ECG — or electrocardiogram — records the rhythm, the rate, and the electrical activity of the heart.

The health-conscious startup claims, in a press release, that Apple is trying to “eliminate” it as competition in this space. Until the matter is settled, it wants a judge to stop Apple from importing the Apple Watch into the United States. That would, in essence, stop Apple from selling the Apple Watch in its biggest market.

AliveCor notes that:

“Starting in 2011, AliveCor has invested heavily in bringing advanced, AI-powered cardiological detection technology to consumer users. These investments have produced unique, market changing products including:

KardiaMobile, the most clinically-validated personal ECG in the world
KardiaMobile 6L, the first and only six-lead personal ECG KardiaBand, the first FDA-cleared medical device accessory for Apple Watch
SmartRhythm, revolutionary artificial intelligence that continuously evaluates heart activity for signs of arrhythmias”

AliveCor showed off its KardiaBand, which paired with an Apple Watch app to show ECG readings in almost real-time, back in March 2016. This was only shortly after Apple debuted the Apple Watch and long before it introduced the ECG feature.


Apple, for its part, introduced its ECG feature for the Apple Watch in 2018 with the Apple Watch Series 4. Studies have backed up the effectiveness of this electrocardiogram feature. Apple is also reported to be considering baking heart rate-reading tech into future devices, including AirPods.

We’ll keep you updated on the future developments of this lawsuit. This isn’t the first time Apple has “Sherlocked” a company by baking some of its core technology into one of its products. However, this appears to be one of the first times it has happened in the health and wellness space.

Have you bought or used any AliveCor products? Let us know your thoughts on this battle in the comments below.

Source: AliveCor and Patently Apple


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