ITC rules Apple Watch infringes AliveCor ECG patent, US sales potentially threatened [U]

Apple has been locked in a patent battle with health tech company AliveCor since last year, with the Cupertino-based company being accused of infringing patents related to the Apple Watch’s ECG feature. On Thursday, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Apple infringed AliveCor’s patents, which could threaten Apple Watch sales in the US.

Update: Latest update with a statement from Apple.

Apple Watch may be banned in the US due to patent infringement

The decision resulted in a limited exclusion order as well as a cease and desist order that could prevent Apple from importing patent-infringing Apple Watch models into the United States. This will have a significant impact on Apple Watch sales, as the company will no longer be able to sell the Apple Watch Series 8 or Apple Watch Ultra in the US, as both models feature an ECG sensor.

In a joint statement with 9to5MacAliveCor says the ITC decision is a victory not only for the company, but for “other innovative small businesses” as well as consumers.

This ruling resulted in a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist banning Apple from importing infringing Apple Watches into the United States, which could affect sales of millions of devices. Although the ITC has suspended enforcement of the LEO until all appeals are exhausted, today’s news is a victory for AliveCor, other innovative small companies, and for consumers who deserve to have choices about how they manage their heart health.

The ITC preliminary decision announced in June this year indicated that Apple would be punished for infringing AliveCor’s patents. However, the Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTAB) Patent Trial and Appeals Board said earlier this month that AliveCor’s technologies are “non-patentable,” meaning they are too obvious or too general to be obtained. patented.

Statement from Apple

Apple said in a statement 9to5Mac It “strongly disagrees” with the ITC’s decision and continues to believe AliveCor’s patents are “invalid”.

At Apple, our teams work tirelessly to create the world’s best products and services, using technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness, and safety features. While we strongly disagree with ITC’s decision today, we are pleased that the exclusion order has been paused, consistent with previous precedent. The patents on which the remainder of AliveCor’s case were found to be invalid, and for that matter, we must ultimately prevail in this matter.

A disputed backstory between Apple and AliveCor

Back in 2015, just after the release of the Apple Watch, AliveCor created a special Apple Watch band with ECG sensors to showcase the potential of this technology. The company has even shared the technology with Apple in hopes of securing a partnership agreement.

However, this partnership never happened, and in 2018 Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 4 with its own ECG sensor built into the watch. Then, in 2021, AliveCor claimed that Apple had stolen its patents, and sent a request to the International Trade Center to ban sales of the Apple Watch in the United States. Apple asked PTAB to declare AliveCor’s patents invalid.

Separately, AliveCor this year filed an antitrust lawsuit, alleging that Apple was blocking competing apps by restricting third-party apps’ access to the heart rate monitor.

It is now up to President Joe Biden to decide whether or not Apple has infringed AliveCor’s patents. Biden has 60 days to review the decision.

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