Apple Sued Over Watch’s Heart Monitoring Technology

The Apple Watch can detect irregular heartbeats — which might be a copyright violation

Apple Watch
The Apple Watch's ability to detect an irregular heartbeat is at the center of a new lawsuit.
fancycrave1/Creative Commons

Late last year, Apple announced that their Apple Watch now offered “the first direct-to-consumer product that enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist.” The technology company touted this as a breakthrough for personal health — including the ability for Apple Watch wearers to have an irregular heartbeat detected. It prompted plenty of press, including a number of doctors analyzing what these new features could mean.

Now, that technology has hit the news in a very different way. At Engadget, Jon Fingas reports that a cardiologist based in New York, Dr. Joseph Wiesel, has sued Apple over the technology used to detect irregular heartbeats.

“Wiesel claimed that he shared details of the patent with Apple in September 2017, but that the company ‘refused to negotiate in good faith’ and left him no choice but to file a lawsuit,” Fingas writes. Wiesel’s goal here is to block Apple from using the technology unless he can receive royalties from it.

Wiesel has written extensively on the subject of atrial fibrillation, and has filed numerous patents for systems designed to detect it.

Fingas’s article at Engadget notes that Apple frequently deals with patent trolls, though he also observes that this isn’t what’s happening here. Instead, Wiesel has a much more legitimate-sounding claim. How the ensuing legal battle plays out remains to be seen — though it might well end up having an effect on the health gadget space.

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