Apple Watch pulled from shelves over patent ruling

Originally published at: Apple Watch pulled from shelves over patent ruling - Boing Boing


A friend just gave me an Apple Watch for a graduation gift. I wasn’t familiar with all the models, so I had to check. It’s the SE, so it’s not affected. These cases always surprise me. Apple is big. They have in house counsel who understand how all this shit works. They should have started setting off all the alarm bells the second they poached several Masimo employees. Even if you don’t infringe patents after that, you run the risk of being accused of stealing trade secrets. Whatever exorbitant price Masimo wanted to license their tech 10 years ago, it was cheaper than all this litigation is going to cost Apple, even if they end up winning. This is just short sighted corporate stupidity.


Congrats on graduating (from law school, iirc)


Huh, couldn’t they just update the watch system to remove the functionality of the oxygen meter? And then when the dust settles, turn it back on?

Kinda weird you can put a patent on something where you’re basically just combining two devices into one. Unless the way it measure O2 is novel.

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I haven’t quite yet, but it appears imminent. Thank you.


I mean, they could do that with any function of the watch: the heart monitor, the connection to the iPhone, the part that tells you the time. That’s not a solution we should be comfortable with!

That’s the basis for the internet of things. Total connection, all the time!


He’s obviously an interested party; but Masimo’s CEO claims the patents are sufficiently hardware related that Apple just stubbing it out in software might not cut it.

I’m not sure if Apple shares his skepticism on that score; or if they are pursuing some sort of brinksmanship strategy and trying to play up the impact in the sort term in the hopes of getting all of what they want rather than being forced into a compromise in order to keep shipping.

It has been speculated that they might be aiming to pressure the Biden administration(which does have the power to overturn the import ban) directly by having a well-known consumer product fall off the market right in time for Christmas; I’m not sure if they are wont to operate so bluntly as that or not.


Masimo’s complaint is as much about the hardware as it is the software, so simply turning off the SpO2 functionality likely wouldn’t be sufficient.


This is my guess, too - it’s possible they believe they will prevail in court in other ways, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they consider these “lost sales” as damages, possibly bankrupting Masimo or forcing a sale.

This probably isn’t a popular opinion here, but I’ve been dealing with Apple reps professionally for years, and they suck. They run at their time, do things their way, and are pretty inflexible in response to our true business needs. This sort of interaction with their customers has to be amplified in weird ways behind the scenes.


They actually got their court date as it were, so it suddenly becomes worth it to wait the rest of the 10 years. Meanwhile who’s ready for that glycemic index measuring function etc! Or the watch that grates you fresh wasabi to scarf whenever you seem to be forgetting a thing?

Someone at Apple, likely in leadership, felt the fine/court would be cheaper than the license. That’s how the math always works out.

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Everything I’ve ever read about Apple’s relationships with suppliers includes mention of fanatical secrecy and rather sharp elbows. An enormous customer, and one willing to make investments in capacity when required, so there’s an incentive to risk it; but the odds of either getting moved to someone cheaper or vertically integrated look not unlike what happens on the software side to people whose iOS and macOS utilities were a little too useful the next time a major OS release comes out and they learn that they’ve become a platform feature(“sherlocking”/“getting sherlocked”).

They project a certain air of honesty at retail, in that(notably unlike most PC OEMs and Android phone lineups) they have usually been pretty good at sticking with the “there are no cheap macs; but no bad macs” lineup strategy; rather than having the bottom of the range basically being mean tricks on the unwary; but they don’t play nice as a general principle.


That era is over with the 8 gb is as good as 16 gb bs.

That is not how the math always works out. It might be true that someone attempted to make that calculation, and came to that decision, but they were almost certainly wrong. I mean, how much have they now spent in legal fees? And they’re not done, and they’ve lost one court case. Now there’s appeals, and countersuits. And they had to pull the watches from the market. Right before Christmas! How much is that costing them? No, these decisions are usually driven by the desire for short-term gains over long-term success, and/or because of hubris.

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Apple “poached” engineers and a CMO from them ? You mean they “offered them better jobs with better compensation” ?

Speaking as a tech person for my entire career, what were they supposed to do ? Say no and keep working for a company that apparently valued them less ?

Nobody is blaming the engineers or CMO, they’re saying that Apple doing that right after refusing to license a product from the competitor they hired the employees from looks… shady?


I don’t think anyone is blaming the engineers. But when you do stuff like that, you (meaning Apple) have to be very careful to make sure you avoid patent infringement or stealing company secrets. It invited scrutiny.


This is a real and specific thing in tech. Managers can leave a company and try to take their entire team with them in the process. There are often various contract stipulations meant to prevent this. That being said, California is one of the more worker-friendly states as far as this is concerned.

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