Medical-sensor maker Masimo Corp. claimed in a court filing late Monday that Apple is trying to delay a legal fight over allegedly stolen blood-oxygen monitoring technology in its latest Apple Watch so it can gain a more dominant share of the smartwatch market.
Blood-oxygen monitoring is a key feature of the latest Apple Watch Series 6 announced on Sept. 15. Masimo and its spinoff Cercacor Laboratories Inc. had sued in January, accusing Apple of promising a working relationship only to steal secret information and hire away key employees, including Cercacor’s former chief technology officer and Masimo’s chief medical officer.
Apple hasn’t formally responded to the allegations. Instead, it has filed requests to dismiss the trade-secret part of the case and earlier this month lodged petitions to have Masimo patents invalidated at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple wants the trial court in Santa Ana, California, to keep the civil suit on hold until those issues are resolved.
Apple on Sept. 15 said delaying the patent aspect of the case while a review board considers its invalidity arguments might help narrow the issues for the court and “will undoubtedly reduce wasted resources.”
District Judge James Selna has set a series of dates that would mean the first hearing on how to interpret key terms of the patents will be held in April, unless he puts the case on hold before then.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s only logical to first see if the USPTO will invalidate the Masimo patents in question before going any further in court.