The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Apple Watch ECG or heart rate monitoring tech infringes on two patents of AliveCor. However, the court has put the ban on Apple Watch on hold till the resolution of AliveCor’s appeal at the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
AliveCor is an American medical manufacturer of ECG-related equipment. In 2017, the company launched its first medical accessory for the Apple Watch the “EKG Kardia band” and a companion app “SmarthRhtym” which notified users to take an ECG on the smartwatch.
The legal battle between AliveCor and Apple began in 2018 when the medical manufacturer sued the Cupertino tech giant for killing its EKG Kardia band after the launched the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4.
At the same time, AliveCor had also filed a complaint at the ITC to bar the importation of Apple Watches in the United States for infringing three of its heart rate monitoring patents. Although the ITC ruled in favor of AliveCor, it didn’t order a ban.
ITC pauses ban on Apple Watch till the resolution of AliveCor’s patents invalidation appeal at USPTO
Earlier this month, Apple won a review of ECG patents claims filed by AliveCor. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office invalidated three AliveCor’s ECG patents used in the ITC complaint to seek an import ban on Apple Watch in the United States.
Now, Reuters reports that ITC affirmed that Apple Watches’ ECG function infringed AliveCor’s patent. Although a ban should be enforced, it was paused till other legal matters are resolved.
The ITC said imports of the infringing watches should be banned, but that it would not enforce a ban until appeals were finished in a separate dispute before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where a panel found AliveCor’s patents invalid earlier this month.
President Joe Biden’s administration has 60 days to decide whether to veto the import ban. Although the ITC’s Limited Exclusion Order has levied a $2 bond per infringing Apple Watch imported or sold during the Presidential review period, it is suspended while the appeals of the USPTO decision are pending.
Celebrating the ruling, CEO of AliveCor, Priya Abani said that it was a win for innovation:
“Today’s ITC ruling is a win for innovation and consumer choice. The ruling underscores the importance of upholding intellectual property rights for companies like AliveCor and scores of others whose innovations are at risk of being suppressed by a Goliath like Apple.”
On the other hand, the tech giant strongly disagreed with the ITC’s decision and emphasized that AliveCor’s patents were “invalid.”
At Apple, our teams work tirelessly to create the best products and services in the world, with technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features. While we firmly disagree with the ITC’s decision today, we are pleased that the exclusion order has been put on pause, consistent with past precedent. The patents on which AliveCor’s case rest have been found invalid, and for that reason, we should ultimately prevail in this matter.
The Cupertino tech giant has also counter-sued AliveCor over ECG patent infringement accusing it of trying to benefit from Apple Watch ECG tech after its own ECG products failed.
- iPhone 14 Pro ranks average in MKBHD’s 2022 blind smartphone camera test
- Several iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max users report appearance of horizontal lines when turning on
- Launch of iPhone SE 4 in 2024 might be postponed or cancelled – Kuo
- TSMC to produce Qualcomm’s 5G chips for iPhone 15 series in 2023