Apple's Trade Secret Battle With Masimo Over Pulse Oximetry Technology Ends in Mistrial

The latest legal dispute between Apple and pulse oximetry company Masimo today ended in a mistrial, reports Bloomberg. The jury overseeing the case was not able to come to a final decision in its deliberations, causing U.S. district judge James Selna to declare a mistrial.

apple watch ultra purple
Six jurors wanted to decide in favor of Apple, but one juror held strong for Masimo, leading to an impasse. Earlier this afternoon, the jurors sent the judge a note asking what to do because the juror voting in favor of Masimo would not change her position.

The judge initially planned to send the jurors home for the night with deliberations to continue on Tuesday, but after they insisted they would not be able to come to a consensus, he opted to call it.

Apple and Masimo have been in court over the last few weeks to determine whether Apple illegally poached Masimo employees and stole trade secrets when developing the Apple Watch. Masimo was seeking over $1.8 billion in damages and co-ownership of five Apple pulse oximetry patents that Masimo said used its technology.

Apple in July 2013 hired Chief Medical Officer Michael O'Reilly and then in 2014, it hired Cercacor Chief Technical Officer Marcelo Lamego (Cercacor is a Masimo spinoff company). Masimo claims that the two former employees inappropriately shared Masimo's intellectual property when they developed the Apple Watch, which Apple denies.

During the trial, Masimo attempted to demonstrate that Apple Watch development was floundering prior to the hiring of the two Masimo employees, pointing to a 2013 email where now-retired Apple executive Bob Mansfield called the Apple Watch "a mess" and said the sensor would "fail" on its "current path."

Apple maintained that no Masimo IP was used in its work on the Apple Watch, and further, that what Masimo claims are "trade secrets" are ideas "long known and used by multiple companies." Apple said that Masimo targeted it because Masimo saw the success of Apple Watch and wanted to make its own smart watch. Masimo did indeed come out with an Apple Watch-like wearable in late 2022 after decades of focus on large medical devices for healthcare.

In a statement to MacRumors, Apple said that it plans to ask the court to dismiss the trade secret allegations. For context, five of Masimo's claims against Apple were thrown out during the trial, reducing Masimo's self-calculated award.

"We thank the jury for their careful consideration in this case. We deeply respect intellectual property and innovation and do not take or use confidential information from other companies. We are pleased that the court correctly rejected half of the plaintiffs’ trade secret allegations, and will now ask the court to dismiss the remaining claims."

Masimo said that it plans to continue pursuing the trade theft case.

"While we are disappointed that the jury was unable to reach a verdict, we intend to retry the case and continue to pursue legal redress against Apple. As we begin that process, the United States Trade Commission is scheduled in the coming months to decide whether to ban the importation of certain models of the Apple Watch, following a ruling last year by an Administrative Law Judge that Apple infringed one of Masimo’s patents for pulse oximetry."

Masimo previously sued Apple for patent infringement, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ended up invalidating all but two of the patents. The United States International Trade Commission in January said that Apple had infringed on a Masimo patent, a case that is still ongoing.

Top Rated Comments

appleguy123 Avatar
5 weeks ago
A win for the lawyers on both sides
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
steve09090 Avatar
5 weeks ago

"We thank the jury for their careful consideration in this case. We deeply respect intellectual property and innovation and do not take or use confidential information from other companies...."

Rofl. This from a company built on theft....
do you not know the history of Android?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neutrino17 Avatar
5 weeks ago

Sounds like one juror might have some Apple stock... doesn't make sense when it's swayed that much.
The other way around. One juror was a hold-out against Apple.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
antiprotest Avatar
5 weeks ago
That's the Android user.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RalfTheDog Avatar
5 weeks ago
Let me tell you guys the truth about all of this. I have no idea who was right. With all respect to MacRumors, reading a few stories on the internet is not enough to form a valid opinion.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TechnoMonk Avatar
5 weeks ago

That's the Android user.
User wanted 16 GB base model. He wanted to punish apple.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...