Apple is accused of stealing the heart rate sensor technology used in the Apple Watch from another firm. Biometric sensor company Valencell on Monday filed a lawsuit accusing the Cupertino firm of patent infringement, deceptive trade practices, and breach of contract.
Valencell says Apple expresses interest in its PerformTek heart rate sensor technology as early as 2013. The company says Apple led them to believe Apple was interested in licensing the technology for use in the Apple Watch. Apple met with Valencell in 2013 and 2014, to discuss including the heart rate sensing tech in their new wearable device. Valencell says Apple expressed “great interest” in the wrist-based heart rate-sensing system.
Valencell not only demonstrated a prototype of a PerformTek-powered device for Apple, they also later provided the iPhone maker with samples to examine in detail. Apple announced the Apple Watch later in 2014, which included heart rate sensor tech as a highlighted feature.
Valencell charges that Apple solicited the information about the technology under false pretenses, never having any intention to license the technology from Valencell. They also say Apple decided it was more financially beneficial to risk a lawsuit from Valencell, rather then paying for a license.
Valencell says it believes the Apple Watch infringes on four of its heart rate sensing technology patents. The company is suing for patent infringement, deceptive trade practices, and breach of contract related to Valencell white papers the company says Apple employees downloaded from its website using fictitious contact information.
The suit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing future acts of infringement, damages, and an ongoing royalty rate for licensing purposes in case a permanent injunction is not granted.
While Valencell does not produce and market its own products, its tech has been licensed by Sony, LG, Jabra and iRiver, Atlas Wearables, and Scosche. The firm has also filed a similar lawsuit against Fitbit.