US judge rules Apple Watch infringes on sensor technology patent


Apple Watch 6 was the first model to include the pulse oximetry sensor.
Apple Watch 6 was the first model to include the pulse oximetry sensor.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

A judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that Apple infringes on one of medical device maker Masimo’s patents for light-based pulse oximetry sensor functionality and components used in Apple Watch 6 onward. The sensor measures blood oxygen levels.

Next the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will decide whether to ban imports of Apple Watches that include the sensor, Masimo said.

In a statement, Apple disputed the ruling.

Judge: Tech in Apple Watch infringes on Masimo pulse oximeter patent

A United States Administrative Law Judge concluded Apple violated Section 337 of the amended Tariff Act of 1930, by importing and selling Apple Watches with the patented functionality and components in the U.S., Masimo said in a press release.

And the infringement started with the development and release of Apple Watch Series 6 in 2020, the first Apple Watch to include the sensor, Masimo said. Masimo sued Apple that year and in 2021 turned to ITC to initiate an import ban on relevant Apple Watches.

“We are happy that the ALJ recognized Apple’s infringement of Masimo’s pulse oximetry technology and took this critical first step toward accountability,” said Joe Kiani, CEO of Masimo. “Today’s decision should help restore fairness in the market.

“Apple has similarly infringed on other companies’ technologies, and we believe today’s ruling exposes Apple as a company that takes other companies’ innovations and repackages them,” he added.

For its part, Apple disputed the decision.

“We respectfully disagree with today’s decision, and look forward to a full review by the Commission,” the company said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Masimo said it recently released its own high-tech wearable, the Masimo W1, calling it “the first wearable device on the market to provide consumers with accurate, continuous health data, including oxygen level, hydration index, and pulse, heart, and respiration rates.”


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