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24 May, 2024
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The intriguing story behind the Apple watch controversy

The intricate tale of smartwatch innovation and the clash between Apple and Masimo


In 2013, an executive from a medical device company presented an enticing proposal to Tim Cook, Apple's CEO—an entry into the medical device space with innovative smartwatches equipped with sensors to monitor users' physical conditions. Apple's successful foray into this realm, however, led to a legal dispute with medical device company Masimo, which accused Apple of patent infringement. The US International Trade Commission initially blocked the sale of the Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, but a subsequent US appeals court decision overturned this, allowing Apple to reintroduce the disputed watches to the market.

The origin of this conflict traces back to an email from Marcelo Lamego, a Stanford PhD in mechanical engineering and an employee of Cercacor Laboratories, a sister company of Masimo. Lamego, convinced of Apple's potential in the medical device market, joined the tech giant and filed numerous patents for sensors and algorithms to measure blood oxygen levels. This move prompted Masimo to file a lawsuit, accusing Apple of enticing employees, including Lamego, and stealing their crucial blood oxygen measurement technology without penetration.

Masimo contends that Lamego, previously employed by them as a researcher, had no knowledge of the oxygen measurement technology, as his expertise lay in neurons. They allege that Lamego learned about the disputed technology while working closely with Joe Kiani, Masimo's CEO, and subsequently shared it with Apple. The accusation includes claims of Lamego resigning from Apple shortly after completing the supposed betrayal. Apple's executives, however, argue that Lamego didn't integrate well into the company, citing disagreements with management, budget demands, and autonomy requests. Interestingly, Apple had approached Lamego about a year before the pivotal email to Tim Cook, but he initially declined the offer, only changing his mind after failing to secure a chief technology officer position at Masimo.


Cyprus  |  USA  |  technology

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