Monday, October 30, 2023

Masimo v. Apple

Brian Merchant:

Kiani, an electrical engineer by training, had founded the Irvine company Masimo in 1989. Over the next three decades, he and his colleagues built Masimo into an industry leader in pulse oximetry, used to take readings of the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood — a crucial, sometimes life-saving, measurement.


Kiani and the Apple executives had long, involved, and, what felt to him, productive meetings. It even seemed that Apple was interested in acquiring Masimo. “They asked us, ‘Where do we see the market going?,’ ‘How does the tech work?,’ to share with them the regulatory pathways. All the leadership was there, saying, ‘whatever you need, we’re going to work this out.’”


According to the complaint in his case, unbeknownst to Kiani, back when the two companies started meeting, Apple hatched a plan, known internally as Project Everest, to obtain or emulate Masimo’s technology without paying Kiani a cent. Instead of acquiring Masimo, Apple could simply raid its brain trust. In at least one email exchange between executives, Apple referred to its strategy as “smart recruiting.”

There have been stories like this for many years, though I can’t seem to find the links at the moment.

Brian Merchant (via Hacker News):

It turns out the United States International Trade Commission agrees. It just sided with Kiani, issuing a ruling that the Apple Watch contains technology that violates Masimo’s patents, and handing down an exclusion order that, if it stands, would result in the devices being banned from import into the United States unless the infringing technology is removed.

The ruling upholds an initial finding in January that determined Apple had infringed on Masimo’s pulse-oximetry technology, which allows users to take readings of blood-oxygen levels. Earlier this year, a separate federal trial over whether Apple had profited from trade secrets stolen from Masimo, to the tune of $1.85 billion, ended in a hung jury.


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Oh no. If this proves to be true, maybe Microsoft won after-all as their business ethos was adopted by Apple.
To be fair to Apple it doesn’t go against Think Different and they never said Don’t Be Evil.


I wish I understood the differences in the patents more. I don't understand how the FitBit and Apple Watch implementation differ, which seems like the same method as over the finger oximeters.

@Niall Also, Steve Jobs famously said: "Good artists copy; great artists steal".

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