Why did Massimo think he could take on Apple?


Why did Massimo think he could take on Apple? -Gudstory

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For more than three years now, Apple has been embroiled in a bruising legal battle over a feature on the Apple Watch — and Apple’s rival, medical device maker Massimo, is confident it can win. And there’s a good reason Massimo might believe it: The company came out on top when it sued True Wearables, a startup run by a former executive with a stint on the Apple Watch team, on similar grounds.

In 2018, Masimo filed a complaint against True Wearables alleging that its wireless pulse oximeter infringed Masimo’s patents. The court sided with Massimo and issued a permanent injunction against the sale of the device in December 2022.

Sound familiar? Well, the pulse oximeter technology isn’t the only similarity between True Wearables and Masimo’s cases against Apple: Before starting True Wearables, founder and CEO Marcelo Lamego worked at both Masimo and Apple, where he helped develop similar technologies. helped. Lamego has played a key role in Massimo’s lawsuit, as the company alleges that Apple could not have developed certain technology for the Apple Watch without him – although Apple sees things a little differently.

While at Massimo and its sister company, Ceracor, Lamego had “continuous access” to “highly confidential technical information”, while he received training from its “most skilled engineers and scientists”, according to Massimo’s 2020 lawsuit against Apple. Was also received. He also worked closely with the team that developed non-invasive sensors and monitors for vital things like blood oxygen levels. Then, after working for Massimo for more than 10 years, Lamego expressed interest in working at Apple.

Lemego wrote an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2013, offering to help Apple develop “a new wave of technology” that would make it “the number one brand in the medical, fitness and wellness device industry.” Will make.

“I have developed many medical devices over the last 10 years,” Lemego wrote. “I’m confident that if I were given the opportunity to be a part of this in a senior technical executive position, I could add significant value to the Apple team without conflicting with the larger IP I’ve developed for Masimo and Ceracore during that time.” Am. Period.” An Apple recruiter followed up hours later, court documents show.

According to Masimo’s lawsuit against True Wearables, Lamego joined Apple in 2014 and was named as an inventor on several of the company’s health-related patents that were “closely connected” to his work at Masimo. While on the Apple Watch team, he also played a role in hiring engineers, reviewing hardware and algorithm architectures, and advising teams on bio-sensing capabilities, as listed on his LinkedIn profile.

However, as mentioned bloomberg, Lemego left just a few months after joining Apple because he “conflicted with managers, demanding multimillion-dollar budgets and wanted the ability to hire his own engineers without approval. ” That’s when Lemego started his own company, True Wearables, which Massimo claimed used its technology when developing the Axiom, a wireless and disposable pulse oximeter.

Lamego’s early departure from Apple meant he wasn’t around when Apple released the Watch Series 6 – the first with a blood oxygen sensor, which Massimo claims Apple copied. Nevertheless, Massimo is insisting on ownership of the health-related patents Lamego developed for Apple. Massimo claims that Lemego developed the subject matter of the patent while he was employed at Ceracor and because of this, Lemego “had an obligation to assign said subject matter, the patent and the patent application to his employer, Massimo and Ceracor.”

A year after his victory against True Wearables, Masimo CEO Joe Kiani is growing angry at Apple

Apple views Lemego’s time at the company differently: She alleges that neither Lemego nor other Masimo employees she hired were involved in the creation of the products and features that Masimo is suing. In its argument against ousting Cook and Apple COO Jeff Williams, Apple says Lamago’s email to Cook came “several years before development began on the accused products”, meaning the two incidents were unrelated.

The year after Lamego’s departure, Apple released its first Watch, which came only with a heart rate sensor, and did not add a blood oxygen sensor until 2020. This doesn’t change the fact that Apple also hired other former Masimo employees, Masimo argues. One of those employees is former Massimo executive Michael O’Reilly, who started at Apple in 2013 and currently works on the company’s Health Special Projects team, according to his LinkedIn profile. Massimo claims that O’Reilly “had access to extremely sensitive information”, such as information about mobile medical products, wellness applications, and clinical data collection.

A year after his victory against True Wearables, Masimo CEO Joe Kiani is increasing anger at Apple. “This is not an accidental violation – this is a deliberate taking of our intellectual property,” Kiani said in an interview. bloomberg, “These guys were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.”

Earlier this year, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Apple’s wearables infringed Masimo’s patents and subsequently imposed a US import ban on the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2. The ban took effect on December 26, 2023, but Apple immediately filed an appeal and won a court order to temporarily halt the ban. While Apple can resume sales of both devices, it will have to wait until U.S. Customs and Border Protection determines that the changes Apple made to the watches are significant enough to avoid a patent dispute. . The decision is scheduled for January 12.


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