$1.8 billion Apple Watch lawsuit crumbles as mistrial called

Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

A lawsuit over claims that Apple stole trade secrets relating to sensors that ultimately found their way into the Apple Watch has been declared a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

The lawsuit was brought by Masimo, a company that says Apple misused confidential information related to the use of light to measure heart rates and blood oxygen levels — both features that are available in Apple's best Apple Watches, including the Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch Series 8.

However, with the jury struggling to reach a unanimous decision a mistrial was called, with Masimo saying that it intends to retry the case.

Apple 'deeply respects intellectual property'

In a statement provided to Reuters, Apple said that it "deeply respects intellectual property and innovation and does not take or use confidential information from other companies." Apple also intends to ask the court to dismiss the remaining claims in the case.

Masimo had asked for more than $1.8 billion in damages as part of the claim, a figure that was down from the original $3.1 billion that the company sought as part of the trial. The two companies haven't seen the last of each outer either — Apple sued Masimo in Delaware last year over what it claims is patent infringement. The company believes Masimo is getting ready to launch its own smartwatch that would, presumably, need to use similar sensor technology to that already present in the Apple Watch.

Apple is already facing a potential Apple Watch import ban in relation to another patent spat, this time with medical device outfit AliveCor. That lawsuit also relates to heart-monitoring technology that AliveCor owns patents for.

Apple will likely announce at least one new Apple Watch this fall, with the Apple Watch Series 9 a given. We could also see an updated Apple Watch Ultra while a refreshed Apple Watch SE could also be in the cards.

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.