- The International Trade Commission voted on Monday to review an initial determination that Apple violated one of Masimo’s patents.
- The investigation was based on complaints by patient monitoring companies Masimo and Cercacor Laboratories that Apple infringed patents describing their pulse oximetry technology.
- If the full commission finds Apple at fault, it could implement an import ban of the infringing devices.
Apple faces multiple claims from medical device manufacturers that its wearable devices infringed on their patents. Earlier this year, the ITC found the company violated electrocardiogram patents from AliveCor, which could result in an import ban on watches containing the patented features. The commission held off from enforcing the ban until a separate finding by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that some of AliveCor’s claims aren’t patentable is resolved.
With Masimo, an ITC administrative law judge ruled in January that Apple had infringed on one patent, but not on four others.
In a Tuesday filing, the trade commission posed questions about evidence that the Masimo Watch was being developed when the patent complaint was filed against Apple, whether Apple has any ongoing studies that use the blood oxygen feature, whether Apple is working on any redesigns of the features in question, and whether a reasonable substitute device is available to consumers.
BTIG analyst Marie Thibault wrote in a research note that “... it is unclear to us if the questions potentially indicate which way the commission may be leaning.”
Companies must write initial submissions to the ITC by June 5, and reply submissions by June 12.
A final vote had been scheduled for July 17, but Thibault wrote that it is also not clear if the commission still intends to stick to that deadline.