Apple Inc is accused of stealing trade secrets and improperly using Masimo Corp inventions related to health monitoring in its Apple Watch.
Masimo, which develops signal processing technology for healthcare monitors, and its spinoff, Cercacor Laboratories Inc, claim in a lawsuit that Apple got secret information under the guise of a working relationship and then hired away key employees, including Michael O’Reilly, who became vice president of Apple’s health technology efforts.
The business segment that includes the Apple Watch, Apple TV and Beats headphones is the company’s fastest-growing category and generated more than $24 billion in sales in the fiscal year that ended in September.
Masimo and Cercacor said their technology for non-invasive monitoring using light was key to Apple overcoming performance issues with its Watch.
Among the 10 patents Apple is accused of infringing are ones covering ways to measure oxygen levels in blood, and heart rate using light emitters and detectors.
The companies are seeking orders that would block further use of their patented inventions in the Apple Watch 4 and 5, return of confidential information and unspecified damages.
Officials with Cupertino, California-based Apple didn’t immediately return queries seeking comment.
Apple contacted Masimo in 2013 and asked to meet for a potential collaboration, according to the complaint filed in federal court in Santa Ana, California. Apple said it wanted “to understand more about Masimo’s technology to potentially integrate that technology into Apple’s products,” Masimo said.