Lawsuit Claims Apple Watch Heart Rate Sensor Violates Valencell Patents

The Apple Watch violates a number of Valencell patents relating to biometric solutions, claims a new lawsuit. Moreover, Apple has allegedly solicited critical information, received prototypes and shown interest in a partnership with Delaware-based Valencell, though ultimately they didn’t licence the technology implemented in the Watch’s heart rate sensor.


As spotted by AppleInsider, the lawsuit was filed with a district court in North Carolina on Monday, claiming that Apple’s Senior Partnership Manager, Liang Hoe, reached out to Valencell with a partnership proposal for a wrist-based heart rate sensing technology.

Furthermore, Apple allegedly instructed “agents” to extract additional information from Valencell’s website, such as white papers related to its branded “PerformTek-Powered” biometric tech. Although they had disguised their identity, Valencell claims it has identified seven individuals, all of whom were part of the Apple Watch team in charge of designing the heart rate sensor.

The story continues with a meeting with Valencell staff, including co-founder and President Dr. Steven LeBoeuf. The topic of discussion: the integration of PerformTek-Powered in certain products. Valencell later provided technical samples to Apple with the purpose of testing and analysis, and some additional data on wrist wearables during 2014.

You may already know what happened: Apple introduced the Apple Watch in September 2014, but presented its heart rate sensor as something that had been developed in-house based on photoplethysmography (PPG).

Valencell claims that the heart rate sensor found in the Apple Watch violates U.S. Patent Nos. 8,923,941, 8,886,269, 8,929,965 and 8,989,830. It will be interesting to see how Apple reacts to these claims.