Apple Watch clone or healthy competition? Apple sets legal team on Masimo wearable

Apple Watch series 8
(Image credit: Future / iMore)

Apple has filed a new countersuit against medical technology company Masimo, claiming that its new W1 line infringes on Apple Watch patents. The suit comes amid an ongoing battle between the two companies after Masimo filed its own suit in 2020.

This latest lawsuit surrounds a new line of products that Apple claims is the result of Masimo studying its intellectual property (IP) during the initial legal battle. It's also said that a Masimo spinoff managed to get its hands on confidential Apple Watch information.

You sue, I sue

The whole sordid affair began in 2020 when Masimo filed a suit that claimed Apple stole away employees and infringed upon its patents relating to light sensors for the monitoring of heart rates and blood oxygen levels. That happened after the pair met about putting Masimo's tech into an Apple Watch in 2013 — before the first Apple Watch went on sale.

Reuters also notes that a second complaint was filed at the U.S. International Trade Commission last year, with Masimo saying that Apple Watch imports violate its patent rights. Those two lawsuits are still ongoing.

Now, Apple has filed a suit of its own. The Apple Watch maker believes that Masimo used its own lawsuits as a way to get a peek at Apple's own IP, with the result being the W1 line of smartwatches that it also claims infringe on its patents.

Confused yet?

"Masimo, while trying to block importation or sale of Apple Watch, was also secretly copying it," Apple said, while Masimo continues to claim that it has "never been in the consumer wearables business."

This latest Apple Watch furore comes just weeks after Apple released three new models. The updated Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 8 are both refreshes of existing wearables, but Apple's new best Apple Watch is all-new. The 49mm Apple Watch Ultra is the biggest yet and packs specialist features designed for adventurers and watch fans alike.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.