Dr. Joseph Wiesel is pioneer cardiologist who, starting in 1999, filed five patent applications associated with detecting atrial fibrillation. In a 2006 patent, Dr. Wiesel described a method to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) that used a light source that monitors sequences of pulse beats.
Fast forward to December 2018 when Apple began selling the Apple Watch Series 4, which included an irregular pulse notification feature. A software upgrade shortly thereafter allowed previous versions of the Apple Watch to provide notifications for irregular pulses. The newly released Apple Watch Series 5 also included the technology and marketed the ability to detect atrial fibrillation. In a suit recently filed, Dr. Wiesel claims Apple violates his 2006 patent. The suit states that Apple has sold between 50 to 100 million watches either with his technology prepackaged or available with a downloadable upgrade. The suit also estimates another 30 to 40 million watches will be sold with Dr. Wiesel’s technology before the patent expires.
Dr. Weisel has attempted to negotiate with Apple to no avail, claiming Apple has refused to discuss a resolution to the dispute and continues to willfully infringe on his patent. The suit asks for a jury trial and damages, at minimum, of reasonable royalty of past and future watches sold.
Apple has unfortunate histories on patent infringement. Recently, a jury decided Apple pay Qualcomm $31 million ($1.41 per infringing phone) for using patented Qualcomm technology that let their smartphones quickly connect to the internet once the devices turned on. If this suit gets a jury trial, it will be interesting to see what is introduced as evidence and if any damage is awarded to Dr. Weisel.
This case against Apple only highlights the important of filing your patents in a timely manner.
Author Bio:Tracy Jong is a patent and trademark attorney at Tracy Jong Law Firm. Tracy focuses her practice on client counseling related to patent and trademark prosecution for a range of clients including small startup companies, restaurants and bars, craft beverage companies and product manufacturers. She may be contacted at TJong@TracyJongLawFirm.com. Connect with her at: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram. Visit her website at www.TracyJongLawFirm.com.