Apple has been slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit over the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor, according to a report from Axios. Filed by a company called OmniMedSci, the lawsuit alleges that Apple met with OmniMedSci over a period of years to discuss incorporating the company’s technology into the Apple Watch. While the negotiations did not yield a partnership, the lawsuit alleges that Apple went ahead and used OmniMedSci’s technology without a deal in place.
The suit, not surprisingly, was filed in the Eastern district of Texas and, per usual, is seeking an injunction and damages. As for OmniMedSci itself, it’s a Michigan-based tech start-up founded by Mohammed Islam. An MIT graduate who currently teaches in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of Michigan, Islam’s specialty is optical and laser technology. A 2015 write-up on Islam in Crain’s Detroit Business dubbed him the “poster child for a patenting professional.”
While Apple hasn’t yet issued a statement on the pending lawsuit, the details of OmniMedSci’s suit are somewhat familiar. If you recall, Apple back in 2016 was sued by a Biometric sensor company named Valancell. There, Apple was also accused of stealing heart sensor technology that ultimately found its way into the Apple Watch. Further, Valancell also claims that it was in talks with Apple about a licensing partnership only to see Apple incorporate its technology outright.
It will certainly be interesting to see how these suits play out, especially given that the heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch has become one of the device’s most prominent and impactful features. Just a few weeks ago, a study published in JAMA Cardiology revealed that the Apple Watch can detect abnormal heart rhythms with a 97% accuracy rate.