Apple sues AliveCor over patents as Apple Watch import ban deadline looms

The Apple Inc. logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York, U.S.
The Apple Inc. logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
  • Device maker copied wearable heart-monitoring technology -Apple
  • AliveCor said Apple infringed its heart-monitoring patents

(Reuters) - Apple Inc sued medical-device maker AliveCor Inc in San Francisco federal court on Friday, claiming AliveCor's wearable heart monitors violated its patent rights.

Apple's complaint follows lawsuits by AliveCor against the tech giant in federal court and at the U.S. International Trade Commission, which is currently deciding whether to ban imports of Apple Watches based on AliveCor's patent-infringement claims.

Apple said in Friday's complaint that AliveCor filed the lawsuits in response to "its own failures in the market," and said it wants to "set the record straight as to who is the real pioneer" of the technology.

An ITC judge ruled for AliveCor in a preliminary decision in June, and the commission's final ruling on the import ban is due Dec. 12. In a statement on Monday, AliveCor called the new lawsuit "a desperate last-ditch effort by Apple to bully AliveCor into submission just days before the ITC decision."

Representatives for Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

AliveCor sued Apple in West Texas in 2020 and at the ITC last year for infringing patents related to AliveCor's KardiaBand, an Apple Watch accessory that monitors a user's heart rate, detects irregularities, and performs an electrocardiogram (ECG) to identify potential heart issues like atrial fibrillation.

Mountain View, California-based AliveCor stopped selling the KardiaBand in 2018 after Apple launched its own ECG feature. AliveCor said Apple copied its technology starting in Series 4 Apple Watches.

AliveCor also sued Apple last year in California for allegedly monopolizing the U.S. market for Apple Watch heart-rate monitoring apps, in a case that is still ongoing.

Apple's new lawsuit said AliveCor's devices copied Apple advancements related to heart-rate sensors in electronic devices, health-data aggregation, and other personal-health innovations. Apple said it developed its technology as early as 2008, two years before AliveCor was founded.

"AliveCor's litigation campaign is nothing more than an attempt to siphon from the success of Apple technologies it did not invent, all the while selling products that rely on foundational ECG innovations that Apple patented years before AliveCor came to be," Apple said.

Apple asked the court for money damages and an order blocking sales of infringing AliveCor products.

The case is Apple Inc v. AliveCor Inc, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:22-cv-07608.

For Apple: Adam Alper, Akshay Deoras, Michael De Vries, Leslie Schmidt and Kat Li of Kirkland & Ellis

For AliveCor: not available

Read more:

Apple Watch import ban in play after trade judge finds patent infringement

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, for Reuters Legal. He has previously written for Bloomberg Law and Thomson Reuters Practical Law and practiced as an attorney. Contact: 12029385713