Masimo, a company specialising in medical technology products, is suing Apple for allegedly stealing trade secrets and infringing multiple patents related to the Apple Watch.
In the lawsuit, filed with the US District Court for the Central District of California, by Masimo and its spinoff, Cercacor Laboratories, Apple is accused of acquiring secret information “under the guise of a working relationship”, and then hiring several key employees following a series of negotiations and meetings.
Masimo has sought and received numerous US patents for many of its inventions, said the lawsuit, and it “maintains some technology as trade secrets [and] closely guards its future product and market plans. Only select employees have knowledge of and access to these guarded secrets.”
Specifically, Masimo claims the Apple Watch infringes upon its health-monitoring features, with the tech giant allegedly using Masimo’s non-invasive monitoring technology to develop a light-based heart sensor.
In 2014 Apple hired Michael O’Reilly, a former Masimo chief medical officer, as well as Marcelo Malini Lamego, a former Cercacor chief technology officer, and as such Apple allegedly received confidential information, it is alleged. Neither men have been named in the lawsuit.
The Apple Watch incorporates fitness tracking and health monitoring functions and was one of the first so-called 'wearable tech' products. It generates billions of dollars annually in revenue for Apple.
Apple is accused of infringing ten patents in total.
In 2018, several of Apple’s watch products were accused of patent infringement relating to its heart rate monitoring system.
US-based Omni MedSci filed the complaint of patent infringement against Apple at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming that several of the Apple Watches, including the Series 1, Series 2, Series 3 GPS and Series 3 GPS + Cellular products, infringed its patents.
Both companies have been approached for comment.