Threatened sales ban for Apple Watch again in court

A US medical device manufacturer has accused ex-employees of leaking secrets to Apple. These were incorporated into the Apple Watch.

It is about trade secrets worth several billion US dollars and in another case about an imminent sales ban for the Apple Watch in the USA: Before a US district court in California, Apple, and the medical technology manufacturer Masimo are currently discussing whether Masimo’s former executives may have divulged trade secrets after joining Apple and helped make the Apple Watch so successful. The focus is on the blood oxygen sensor and pulse measurement. Already in January, there was a court decision according to which Apple is threatened with an import ban in the USA.

The two former Masimo employees Marcelo Lamego and Michael O’Reilly had switched to Apple and are said to have used secret information from Masimo to help the Apple Watch succeed.

Prominent witnesses

The court reporter Meghann Cuniff reports in her blog in great detail about the trial days so far. Accordingly, Apple rejects the allegations, while the other side tries to show, among other things, using internal emails from Apple executives that Apple was quite unlucky in developing the heart rate monitor. Apple’s former hardware boss, Bob Mansfield, was also questioned in this context. Other vice presidents were also heard as witnesses, including Adrian Perica, who is in charge of corporate development, and Steve Hottelling, a hardware executive.

According to the report, Apple took two approaches to collaborate with other companies during the development of the first Apple Watch. One, Project Everest, called for talks with Masimo and its subsidiary Cercacor Laboratories, which Masimo now claims were just to find out what was known. In Project Rover, the search was shifted to other companies.

Productive six months

Apple then hired O’Reilly as the new Chief Medical Officer in July 2013 and then a few months later Lamego, who only stayed with Apple for six months. During this time, however, twelve patent applications went back to him. However, none of these ideas were stolen, according to Apple’s lawyers. On the contrary, Apple even weighed up in advance whether the hiring of the two could lead to conflicts of interest. In the end, however, it was decided that O’Reilly and Lamego should be free to change employers if they apply to Apple themselves. More witnesses are due to be interviewed later this week.


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