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Apple Watches Violate AliveCor Patents, But Import Ban Stays

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Apple Watches Violate AliveCor Patents, But Import Ban Stays

(CTN News) – Apple Inc’s Apple Watches with electrocardiogram (ECG) functions violate patents owned by AliveCor Inc, the US International Trade Commission ruled on Thursday.

ITC said it would ban imports of the infringing watches, but would not enforce a ban until a separate dispute before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is resolved, in which a panel found AliveCor’s patents invalid earlier this month.

The Biden Administration will have 60 days to decide whether to veto the import ban on the basis of policy concerns. During the presidential review period, the commission set a bond of $2 for each infringing Apple device imported.

This bond has been suspended while appeals of the USPTO decision are pending.

In the past, presidents have rarely vetoed import bans. Following the end of the review period, parties may appeal a ban to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

In a statement, Apple stated that it disagreed with the ITC decision but expressed satisfaction that the ban had been paused.

Alive Cor CEO Priya Abani said in a statement that the decision underscored the importance of intellectual property rights for companies “whose innovations are at risk of being suppressed by a giant such as Apple.”

Last year, Alive Cor accused Apple of infringing three patents related to its Kardia Band.

This is a device that monitors a user’s heart rate, detects irregularities and performs an ECG to detect heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation.

The Mountain View, California-based company Alive Cor ceased selling the device in 2018 after Apple introduced its own ECG feature in its smartwatches.

Last year, AliveCor informed the ITC that Apple copied its technology starting in the Series 4 Apple Watches. This drove the company out of business by making its operating system incompatible with the KardiaBand.

The Apple Watch Series 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are equipped with ECG technology. In September, Apple introduced the latest version of its Series 8 product line.

In October, Democratic congressional representatives asked the ITC to refrain from banning imports of Apple Watches, many of which are made in China, even if it ruled in favor of AliveCor, supporting Apple Watches contention that limiting access to Apple’s heart-monitoring technology would adversely affect public health.

AliveCor’s patents were declared invalid by the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board on December 6 at Apple Watches request.

Furthermore, AliveCor has counter-sued the tech giant in San Francisco federal court for allegedly infringing its patents.

In addition to its lawsuit against Apple Watches in California federal court, AliveCor has also filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Apple in Texas federal court for alleged monopolization of the US market for Apple Watch heart-rate monitors.

Is it worth buying Apple Watches ?

The short answer is yes. The Apple Watch Series 8 would provide iPhone users with an unrivaled experience, especially considering the seamless integration between watchOS and iOS. Realistically, the Apple Watch Series 7 will still serve you well if you don’t absolutely need the skin temperature sensor.

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