Masimo Sues Apple for Stealing Trade Secrets for Health Monitoring Functions in Apple Watch

Masimo, a medical technology company that designs pulse oximetry devices, has filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing the Cupertino company of stealing trade secrets and improperly using Masimo inventions related to health monitoring in the Apple Watch.

According to Bloomberg, Masimo claims that Apple stole secret information by pretending to have a working relationship with Masimo, and then hiring Masimo employees. Masimo also believes the ‌Apple Watch‌ is infringing on 10 Masimo patents.


Masimo, and its spinoff company Cercacor, claim that Masimo's technology for non-invasive health monitoring helped Apple overcome performance issues with the ‌Apple Watch‌. Apple allegedly relied on Masimo tech when developing the light-based heart rate sensor used in the ‌Apple Watch‌, among other technologies.

According to Masimo, Apple first contacted the company in 2013 and asked to meet for a potential collaboration, with Apple asking to "understand more" about Masimo's products to potentially integrate Masimo technology into future Apple devices. After what Masimo considered productive meetings, Apple began hiring away important employees.

Ahead of when the ‌Apple Watch‌ was released, Apple hired Michael O'Reilly, who had served as the Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Medical Affairs at Masimo. He has been working on Health Special Projects at Apple, and had a hand in the development of the ‌Apple Watch‌.

O'Reilly wasn't the only hire from Masimo, as Apple also took on other former Masimo employees along with employees from other health-related companies during the time the ‌Apple Watch‌ was being designed. Marcelo Lamego, who served as CTO of Cercacor, for example, joined Apple not long after O'Reilly.

Masimo says Apple received confidential information from its hires, and launched a targeted effort to obtain "information and expertise."

Masimo and Cercacor are aiming to block further use of their patented inventions and are asking for unspecified damages. The two companies also want to add their engineers to four patents that were granted to Lamego after leaving the Cercacor.

Tag: lawsuit

Top Rated Comments

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7 weeks ago
Masimo is not at all a fly by night company. They're one of the gold standards if not the gold standard for oximetry in hospital settings, along with various other parameters.

And interestingly, their consumer product, the MightySat, had been an Apple Store exclusive for a while. It's still sold in their online store, possibly the retail stores as well. I assumed they had a good relationship with Apple due to that, also the fact that they have almost non-existent Android support for the MightySat.
Rating: 13 Votes
7 weeks ago
If Apple did (a) meet with the company, and then (b) hired the employees for their knowledge and skills, then I side with Masimo on this. While I love my Apple Watch, I don't want to see them trample over smaller inventive talent in the marketplace, and especially claim that they came up with the ideas entirely in-house.
Rating: 11 Votes
7 weeks ago


If Apple did (a) meet with the company, and then (b) hired the employees for their knowledge and skills, then I side with Masimo on this. While I love my Apple Watch, I don't want to see them trample over smaller inventive talent in the marketplace, and especially claim that they came up with the ideas entirely in-house.


Hiring someone for their knowledge and skills is the main reason you hire someone.
Hiring someone without knowledge and skills is dumb.
Rating: 8 Votes
7 weeks ago


Did Apple claim that this tech is their innovation? If they did then with this development it feels awkward :)

Why does everyone read a news article citing the PR department at a company which is suing Apple and assume that everything that is said is true?
Rating: 7 Votes
7 weeks ago


Many have been in the race to achieve non-invasive glucose readings for a long time. It is the holy grail of non-invasive monitoring and will be a major breakthrough in medical technology when announced. There are some companies closer to achieving this than others and I would strongly doubt Apple would start from scratch considering non-invasive monitoring companies have already begun working towards this achievement. I may be biased because I work at Masimo Corporation, however I wouldn't put it past Apple to try and license the best monitoring technology already in the market rather than start from scratch. I for one would certainly love to see Masimo technology in a wearable Apple device...I think that would be awesome!


Well... This may have occurred, just not the way that LightSpectrum expected or wanted it to.
Rating: 7 Votes
7 weeks ago
Well, they bring up a couple of issues, but really the only thing that's important is the patent infringement; all the rest of it is sort of BS. Non-competes are invalid in California, so the "hiring away employees" is irrelevant.

And in any case does the information in the employee's head belong to the company or the employee?
Rating: 4 Votes
7 weeks ago


Neither one of those things seem illegal to me. I remember that suit against Apple and Google when they had an agreement not to hire away each others employees. They lost that suit as I recall and had to get rid of that unspoken policy. I also highly doubt that their execs would give away their trade secrets in meetings with Apple. I think the only thing they could have a chance with are the patents.


No, but it's the principle of the matter. If Apple went into the meeting with the intention of never licensing the tech, and instead planting the seed that they will be hiring for the same work, then that's not a good principle, in my mind. Apple then stands on stage after the development is done and claims they've come up with the best tech available... when in fact they possibly "inherited" the tech know-how from workers that they hired away. It just doesn't sit right with me.

Flip this around... what if some of the workers on Apple's Watch team left to go work for another company that company came out with a competing product.... Do you think Apple would stand by idly and do nothing?

I just want to know that Apple has genuinely solved real problems in-house rather than inheriting the solutions through headhunting. That matters to me.
Rating: 3 Votes
7 weeks ago
Apple is a trojan horse. You never ever let them in. You say "Buy it, or go away". Apple has so much money that lawsuits have become irrelevant. They can steal anything they want without any real consequence.
Rating: 3 Votes
7 weeks ago
Masimo suing Apple. Sonos suing Google (and Amazon if successful against Google) for similar reasons. I guess it's just part of the risk/reward of trying to collab with behemoths. They might allegedly take your stuff and leave you high and dry.
Rating: 3 Votes
7 weeks ago


Not defensive.

I’m pointing out that so many of the posts just assume it’s all true, and go on to comment from there.

When Apple files the Answer to the complaint, and macrumors reports on it, the same thing will happen.

Just a general lack of critical thinking and skepticism around here.


I still see it being defensive because you commented to my question which was just a simple question and non-bias at all.

Maybe if you reacted to some of those bias comments regarding this issue then as Trump said - All is well.

I would subjectively guess that if this is about Google/Android/Microsoft/Facebook and others you will not be lecturing us about lack of critical thinking and skepticism :)
Rating: 3 Votes

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