Personal electrocardiogram (ECG) technology maker AliveCor sued Apple last year, claiming the tech giant infringed on patents when developing the heart-health functionality for Apple Watch. AliveCor called for a ban on U.S. imports of the wearable, as well.
Now a judge from the International Trade Commission has supported the claims in an initial ruling.
Judge rules Apple infringed on AliveCor patents in developing ECG for Apple Watch
An administrative law judge from the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued an initial determination finding Apple infringed on AliveCor patents related to ECGs. They record the rhythm, rate and electrical activity of the heart.
The judge recommended the ITC take up a review of the case.
Among its claims, AliveCor also said in the lawsuit that Apple monopolizes the industry. AliveCor makes the KardiaBand, the first ECG accessory for Apple Watch that is FDA-approved.
AliveCor CEO Priya Abani said this in response to the ruling:
Today’s ruling is a strong validation of our IP and underscores that patents matter and even an influential company like Apple cannot simply violate them to stifle innovation. Since the start, our focus has been on our customers and providing them with strong choices to help monitor their cardiac health, including KardiaBand, the first-ever FDA-cleared ECG device accessory for Apple Watch.
Lawsuit and complaint initiated in 2021
AliveCor first filed a complaint with the ITC in April 2021, alleging Apple infringed on patents. Then, in May 2021, AliveCor filed an anti-competition complaint against Cupertino.
In the suit, the company also claims Apple “injured competition, reduced consumer choice, and potentially damaged public health.”
The company further alleged Apple altered App Store guidelines and updated watchOS to make AliveCor’s KardiaBand inoperable.
The ITC has scheduled its final determination for October 26. If fully affirmed, the finding may include a limited exclusion order that prohibits importing infringing Apple Watches to the U.S.
Apple has not commented publicly on the new ruling.