Masimo claims Apple is delaying lawsuit to secure smartwatch market

Apple Watch Series 6 Hero
Apple Watch Series 6 Hero (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Masimo has filed a new complaint in court today about its case against Apple.
  • The company claims that Apple is delaying its legal dispute in order to dominate the smartwatch market.
  • Its case focuses on the blood-oxygen monitoring technology in the Apple Watch Series 6.

Reported by Bloomberg, Masimo has submitted a court filing today that claims Apple is attempting to delay its legal fight with the company in order to secure an even more dominant share of the smartwatch market.

The lawsuit specifically focuses on Apple's inclusion of blood-oxygen monitoring in the Apple Watch Series 6, which Masimo claims Apple stole from it. Masimo says that Apple promised a working relationship with the company, but then used that relationship to steal trade secret information and hire away key employees.

Masimo, which develops signal processing technology for health-care monitors, and its spinoff, Cercacor Laboratories Inc., claim in a lawsuit that Apple got secret information under the guise of a working relationship and then hired away key employees, including Michael O'Reilly, who became vice president of Apple's health technology efforts.

Apple has not responded to the new allegations, but the company has already taken steps to dismiss the case and invalidate Masimo's patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Masimo says that Apple is attempting to use its resources to prevent the case from being resolved before it takes a stranglehold of the smartwatch market with its new feature.

Postponing the case "would allow Apple to seize on a critical window of opportunity to capture an emerging field," Masimo said in the filing Monday. "Just as it has done in numerous other markets, Apple seeks to use its considerable resources and ecosystem to capture the market without regard" to Masimo's patents, the sensor-maker said.

Masimo Chief Executive Joe Kiani says that, if the Apple Watch Series 6 is used as a medical product, it will harm consumers and stifle competition.

"I have seen reports from consumers and others suggesting that the Series 6 be used as a medical product," Masimo Chief Executive Joe Kiani said in the filing. "Not only will that harm consumers themselves, it will also reduce our opportunities to sell truly clinical-grade products to consumers."

To note, Apple did not advertise its new blood-oxygen monitoring on the Apple Watch Series as a medical feature. The company has not received approval, as it did for its ECG feature, from the FDA, so this particular feature is being advertised as a wellness feature. To learn more about the Apple Watch Series 6, read our review.

The case is currently expected to hear the first arguments in April 2021.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.