The United States District Court of the Northern District of California allowed AliveCor a stay in legal proceedings against tech giant Apple.
AliveCor and Apple have a longstanding legal battle ongoing over the use of ECG technology for detecting AFib. Last week, the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) agreed to institute three of AliveCor’s Inter Partes Reviews (IPR) against Apple’s countersuit. The PTAB previously ruled in December 2022 that AliveCor’s claims surrounding U.S. Patent No. 10,595,731 B2 were unpatentable. This proved a setback to AliveCor in the intellectual property fight with Apple and its AFib detection technology.
The latest ruling confirms a continuation of the stay requested by AliveCor until all IPRs in the case are heard. AliveCor views Apple’s countersuit as an effort to derail its original patent infringement case over the ECG technology.
AliveCor first unveiled its ECG-equipped KardiaBand for Apple Watch in March 2016. The thin wristband, designed specifically for the Apple Watch, provides single-lead ECG readings and diagnostics. Users can view data through an app, with results sent to managing physicians. The FDA later cleared the device for use in the Apple Watch in November 2017.
AliveCor sued Apple over the IP of its ECG technology in 2020. AliveCor stopped selling its KardiaBand for use with the Apple Watch a year before the lawsuit. At the time, Apple already launched its onboard EKG scanning and AFib technology on the Apple Watch. Since then, Apple won FDA clearance for irregular heart rhythm notifications on its devices and continues to develop the technology.
Statement from AliveCor
An AliveCor spokesperson issued the following statement to MassDevice via email:
“AliveCor applauds today’s Court order to continue the stay of Apple’s patent infringement countersuit until an investigation into the validity of Apple’s asserted patents is completed by the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and court of appeals. This order closely follows the recent decisions by the PTAB to institute Inter Partes Review (IPR) of two of Apple’s patents upon finding a reasonable likelihood that AliveCor would prevail in showing the unpatentability of at least one of the challenged claims.
“Separately, our antitrust case against Apple is proceeding in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, where the judge will decide several pending motions before setting a trial date for later this year. Our cases are few among many recent developments revealing the extent of Apple’s bullying.”
Ongoing litigation around Apple’s incorporation of health technology
AliveCor isn’t the only one battling with Apple over the incorporation of medical technology into the Apple Watch.
In January 2020, Masimo accused Apple of poaching its employees and infringing 10 of its patents to improve the health monitoring functions of the Apple Watch. The court sought to determine whether Apple misused confidential information from Masimo related to the technology used to measure health data.