Apple Watch May Infringe on Heart Rhythm Monitoring Patent

The Apple Watch offers an innovative heart monitoring sensor. Apple was recently sued by the doctor who patented this technology.

By Chand Bellur

December 31, 2019 at 5:29 p.m. PDT

Apple Sued Over Patent Infringement

Intellectual property is often very valuable, especially when it finds its way into multi-billion dollar technology. The tremendously successful Apple Watch may contain technology that was used without the patent holder’s permission.

Dr. Joseph Wiesel, a New York University cardiologist, filed a lawsuit to stop Apple from using his intellectual property without permission. He also seeks royalties for the use of his patent.

The patent in question was granted in 2006 for a device capable of detecting atrial fibrillation. Using sensors and light, his patented device is able to detect heart rhythms, which can then be displayed on screen.

The doctor alleges that he sent Apple information about the atrial fibrillation patent prior to development of the Series 4 Apple Watch. Apple’s forth generation smart watch features an AFib detection feature which may be based on Dr. Wiesel’s patent.

Apple Can Settle or Delay

It remains to be seen whether Apple’s implementation of AFib detection is similar enough to Dr. Wiesel’s to warrant royalties and permissions for use. Given that the patent was sent to Apple, they may have engineered a solution different enough to be original.

It’s also possible that Apple blatantly copied Wiesel’s design, without concern of a serious legal battle. After all, Apple is the largest corporation on the planet. They can afford to either appease Dr. Wiesel or tie the matter up in court indefinitely. They’ll take the least costly course of action.

If the patent holds and Apple is held liable to pay royalties, it may be of little consequence to the Cupertino company. They’re firing on all cylinders right now. Shaving a few points off of the Apple Watch won’t break them.

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