Detection of atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeats is the USP of the Apple Watch and the reason why the product gets sold in such huge volumes. There’s now a lawsuit against Apple by one Dr. Joseph Wiesel who claims he holds the patent since 2006 for a “method of and apparatus for detecting atrial fibrillation” and that Apple has to compensate him.
Photoplethysmography at the “Heart of it All”
Photoplethysmography is the medical term that describes the process of sensing the signals from the heart and indicating them through blinking colored lights. Apple has adopted this technology on its smartwatches successfully. The doctor suing Apple has cited this and says the patent was meant to be the “pioneering steps in atrial fibrillation detection”.
The first time Dr. Joseph Wiesel had taken up the issue of his patent violation with Apple was in 2017. This was immediately after the company launched its Apple Watch Series 3. Dr. Wiesel claims in his suit that the company refused to even negotiate with him.
IPR Suit Links Patented Technology with Sales of the Watches
The crux of the lawsuit that Dr. Wiesel has filed is obviously about the damages or compensation from Apple Inc. for the patent violation. The claim has been built on the argument that Apple manages to sell the Apple Watch based mainly on the device’s ability to detect irregular heartbeats.
The point that’s being raised by those who don’t fully agree with this line of argument is that there is no mention of a watch in Dr. Wiesel’s patent application. It would, therefore, become a minute interpretation of the technical terms and their precise application in the wearable device being manufactured and sold by Apple Inc.
The claims made in the lawsuit include the past damages, the reimbursement of the legal fees and royalties for future sales. The lawsuit accuses Apple of willfully and deliberately causing this infringement and demands that the damages be awarded triple the amount.
Apple is yet to release any official comment on the matter.