Masimo Open to Settlement with Apple Amid Watch Ban Fight

Masimo Chief Executive Officer Joe Kiani, leading the medical device maker currently in a patent dispute with Apple, has expressed openness to settling with the tech giant.

In a recent interview on Bloomberg TV, Kiani stated he is willing to work with Apple to improve their Apple Watches but noted that Apple has yet to initiate contact. “They haven’t called,” Kiani said. “It takes two to tango.”

The dispute stems from a ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) earlier this year, which found that the Apple Watch violated two Masimo patents related to blood-oxygen sensing. As a result, an import ban on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9 models is set to take effect on December 25.

Kiani, in his interview, emphasized the need for an “honest dialogue” and an apology from Apple as part of any settlement talks. He accused Apple of deliberately infringing on Masimo’s intellectual property, stating, “This is not an accidental infringement — this is a deliberate taking of our intellectual property. I am glad the world can now see we are the true inventors and creators of these technologies.”

Apple, on the other hand, has labeled the ITC ruling as erroneous and plans to appeal the decision. The company is also preparing for the ban by announcing plans to remove the affected devices from its e-commerce site and retail stores. An Apple spokesperson stated, “Apple strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers.”

Kiani criticized Apple’s response to the ban as a “stunt” to pressure the Biden administration into vetoing the order. He also accused Apple of hiring over 20 Masimo engineers to work on similar technology for its watch, saying, “Apple could be an example of how to do things right and do things well, and they didn’t have to steal our people. We could have worked with them.”

In response, Apple asserted that its teams work hard to create products with leading health, wellness, and safety features. The company also suggested that Masimo’s legal actions were motivated by a desire to clear the market for its own smartwatch, which Apple described as a knockoff of its device.

The legal battle between the two companies saw a lawsuit filed by Masimo against Apple end this year with a federal court jury unable to reach a decision, with six of the seven jurors siding with Apple.

As the dispute continues, Apple is reportedly working on a software update for the Apple Watch that it believes will resolve the ITC dispute. However, Kiani remains skeptical, stating, “I don’t think that could work — it shouldn’t — because our patents are not about the software. They are about the hardware with the software.”

The sales ban will affect the newest Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 at Apple’s retail stores and its online store. Authorized retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and more are still allowed to sell existing stock. The ban doesn’t affect Apple Watch sales in Canada. Americans should just visit Canada to buy their Apple Watches to get a killer discount thanks to favourable exchange rates.

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