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ITC order could ban Apple from importing Apple Watches (eventually)

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Thursday issued an order that could bar Apple  from importing its Apple Watches after finding the devices violate medical technology company Masimo’s patent rights, reports Reuters.

The full commission upheld a judge’s ruling from January that Apple violated Masimo’s rights in light-based technology for reading blood-oxygen levels. Reuters notes that the decision won’t have an immediate effect since it now faces presidential review and possible appeals.

As of May, the ongoing legal brouhaha between Apple and Masimo regarding Apple Watch patents has ended in a mistrial. The two companies failed to persuade a jury to reach a unanimous verdict in a trial where the medical-devices company claimed a blood-oxygen sensor in Apple’s smartwatch was developed using misappropriated trade secrets.

Masimo sought as much as $1.85 billion, claiming that was the amount of illegal profit Apple earned from using its technology. However, jurors in federal court in Santa Ana, California, told the judge Monday they were unable to reach a consensus, with six out of seven panelists voting to clear the iPhone maker of wrongdoing, reports Bloomberg.

In January an ITC judge ruled that Apple infringed on medical technology company Masimo’s pulse oximeter patent when it launched Apple Watch models that use light sensors to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood.

This is all part of an ongoing legal battle between the two companies. Apple sued medical technology company Masimo in Delaware federal court in October 2022 accusing its new W1 line of smartwatches of infringing several Apple Watch patents.

The two lawsuits said Masimo copied Apple’s technology while seeking bans on sales and imports of Apple Watches in earlier intellectual-property cases against the tech giant in California and at a U.S. trade tribunal. Apple said Masimo “carefully studied Apple’s IP” during those cases and claimed a Masimo spinoff received confidential information about the Apple Watch.

In June 2022 Masimo filed a patent infringement complaint agains the tech giant and is asking for a ban on impacts of the Apple Watch. The medical device company claims that the Apple Watch Series 6 infringes on five of its patents for devices that use light transmitted through the body to measure oxygen levels in the blood. The company says that the tech is vial to its business and that Apple is unfairly copying its features.

In September 2020 Masimo accused Apple of trying to delay a legal fight over allegedly stolen blood-oxygen monitoring technology in the Apple Watch Series 6 so it could gain a more dominant share of the smartwatch market. Blood-oxygen monitoring is a key feature of the latest Apple smartwatch.

Masimo and its spinoff Cercacor Laboratories first sued in January 2020. They accused Apple of promising a working relationship only to steal secret information. The tech giant also allegedly attempted to hire away key employees, including Cercacor’s former chief technology officer and Masimo’s chief medical officer.

Masimo is an American manufacturer of noninvasive patient monitoring technologies based in Irvine, California. The company sells more pulse oximetry to hospitals than any other company.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today
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