Medical technology company Masimo has filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the Apple Watch maker of theft of trade secrets and improper use of Masimo health monitoring inventions in the popular wearable device.
According to Bloomberg, the company, and its spinoff, Cercacor Laboratories Inc., which designs pulse oximetry devices, claims Apple stole secret information from the company by pretending to have a working relationship with Masimo, then poaching Masimo employees. The company says the Apple Watch infringes on 10 Masimo patents.
Among those patents, are those covering ways to measure oxygen levels in blood, and heart rate using light emitters and detectors. The companies are seeking to block any further use of their patented inventions in the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5, the return of confidential information and unspecified damages.
The companies claim their technology for non-invasive health monitoring helped Apple resolve performance issues with the Apple Watch. They also allege Apple relied on Masimo technology when developing the light-based heart rate sensor used in the Apple Watch, as well as other technologies.
Masimo says Apple first contacted them in 2013 and asked them to collaborate, with APple’s saying they were seeking to understand more about Masimo’s products, with the possibility of integrating the company’s tech into future Apple devices. Following what Masimo considered productive meetings, Apple began poaching away important Masimo employees.
Masimo says Apple received confidential information from its hires, launching a targeted effort to obtain “information and expertise.”
Apple hired Michael O’Reilly, who had served as the Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Medical Affairs at Masimo. The company also hired Marcelo Lamego, who served as CTO of Cercacor.
Masimo and Cercacor are looking to block further use of their patented technology, and are asking for unspecified damages. The companies are also asking to add their engineers to four patents that were granted to Lamego after he left Cercacor.