Along with the final determination, the ITC issued a limited exclusion disorder (LEO) and a cease and desist order. It set a bond in the amount of $2 per unit of infringing Apple Watches imported or sold during its review period.
In a news release, AliveCor said it could potentially impact sales of “millions of infringing Apple Watches.”
“Today’s ITC ruling is a win for innovation and consumer choice,” said Priya Abani, CEO of AliveCor. “The ruling underscores the importance of upholding intellectual property rights for companies like AliveCor and scores of others whose innovations are at risk of being suppressed by a Goliath like Apple. We look forward to continuing to build and innovate on our cardiac solutions to improve people’s lives.”
The ITC suspended enforcement of its orders pending resolution of AliveCor’s appeal to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decision. This ruling affirms the initial determination issued in June by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Cameron Elliot of the ITC. The final determination now goes to a 60-day review by President Joe Biden.
AliveCor also seeks relief in the Northern District of California from Apple’s “anticompetitive behavior.” It expects that case to go to trial in early 2024.
The history behind AliveCor and Apple’s patent spat
AliveCor sued Apple over the IP in 2020. That came about a year after AliveCor stopped selling its KardiaBand for use with the Apple Watch. Apple already launched its own onboard EKG scanning and AF detection technology on the Apple Watch.
Last year, the FDA cleared an irregular heart rhythm notification on the Apple Watch. The company continues to develop the technology.
The ITC initially took up this case in 2021. AliveCor alleged that Apple violated U.S. tariff law by importing certain Apple watches that infringe patents for its ECG technology. The company develops AI-powered cardiac care offerings, including an FDA-cleared wireless, patchless, six-lead ECG sensor. It also develops an FDA-cleared credit-card-sized personal ECG.
Earlier this month, Apple scored the PTAB win that AliveCor is currently appealing. PTAB agreed with Apple that AliveCor’s claims around U.S. Patent No. 10,595,731 B2 were unpatentable.
The board made the determination based on the IP law concept of obviousness.