Apple is no stranger to lawsuits, both for and against. It has been found guilty of infringing patents before, more than once, but it also won one of the biggest copyright lawsuits of all time when it was ruled Samsung “slavishly” copied several elements of the iPhone’s design.
It’s a cut-throat world out there, and if the latest patent suit is true, it shows Apple is once again using its insane wealth to strongarm the little guys. Not cool, especially for a company that usually prides itself on doing the right thing.
In this most recent lawsuit, healthcare researchers Masimo Corp. claim Apple stole secret inventions that fed into the development of health tracking features on the Apple Watch. Reportedly, Apple did this by pinching key staff members from Masimo and using their insider knowledge to file patents for technology developed while at their previous company.
Notable are the hires of Michael O’Reilly, picked up as VP of Health Technology at Apple shortly after a “collaboration meeting” with Masimo in 2013, and Marcelo Lamego, a man with “unfettered access” to confidential information who was hired by Apple following year.
Masimo is claiming Apple launched a “targeted effort to obtain information and expertise” and seeks for its engineers to be added to seven patents it believes to have been involved with. It’s also seeking undisclosed damages to compensate.
Apple Watch has, of course, been a big success – in large part thanks to its impressive health-tracking capabilities. Even if found guilty, Apple has a big enough wallet to pay out. But since 2013 Apple has made a point of buying up smaller companies when interested in their tech. Of course, that comes with its own downsides, but it seems like a more honest approach and one we hope Apple sticks to going forward.