Masimo demands ITC ban Apple Watch Series 6 sales in America

Masimo is expanding its legal fight against Apple, filing a patent-infringement complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that seeks to ban imports of the Apple Watch Series 6.

Apple Watch Series 6 with the distinct Braided Solo Loop and blue aluminum case.
Apple Watch Series 6 with the distinct Braided Solo Loop and blue aluminum case.

Masimo claims that Apple Watchs Series 6 infringes five patents for devices that use light transmitted through the body to measure oxygen levels in blood.

Susan Decker for Bloomberg News:

Masimo, which develops signal-processing technology for health-care monitors, and its spinoff, Cercacor Laboratories Inc., first sued Apple in January 2020, accusing it of stealing trade secrets and improperly using Masimo inventions related to health monitoring in its Apple Watch.

The patents in the federal case are being reviewed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after Apple argued they didn’t cover new inventions. The judge put that aspect of the case on hold until the reviews are completed.

Unlike a district court, the trade agency won’t delay consideration of the patent complaint and it typically completes investigations in 15-18 months.

The dispute is likely to end in a settlement that could net Masimo between $50 million and $300 million a year in royalties, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Tamlin Bason said in a note Tuesday. Masimo reported $1.14 billion in sales last year.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, Masimo is asking for the moon while angling for the best settlement they can get. Last quarter, Apple earned roughly $1 billion per day, so the company is well-positioned to pay royalties in the range estimated by Bason.


    1. Because it is possible to infringe a patent unintentionally; to do so is not theft, because there is no criminal intent. Apple does not believe that its invention falls within the scope of the Massimo patents, but a court might decide otherwise. A settlement is therefore a prudent solution for both parties.

  1. It seems to me that a lot of companies get these patents and never plan to use them. They just wait for some company to invent a successful product so that they can leech off someone else’s success. I don’t know what the answer is, but clearly the system is broken. Perhaps an expiration date if not used?

  2. Apple will steal when they think they can get away with it. Their business model is to create the aura of so much time and legal expense that the folks that they bloodsuckers are stealing from just cannot fight them. A judge with guts needs to punish Apple with a Carthaginian settlement that cripples them for several years in a way they never, ever dare again to be the stealing scum that they are.

  3. Measuring light transmitted to get oxygen saturation levels was patented years and years ago. The original patents for that have expired. Clearly, Apple believes, and probably has a pretty good case, that Masimo’s patent replicates the expired patents and are therefore not enforceable. Patent law says that if the “new” feature is something that someone “skilled in the art” could do, then the new tweak is not patentable – and it sounds like this is the crux of the matter.

    This patent is from 1993: so it expired before the Apple Watch released, let alone the Series 6. I haven’t read their patent, but it sees likely Masimo should lose this outright.

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