AliveCor, a maker of EKG devices, has won an import ban against the Apple Watch. The International Trade Commission (ITC) previously ruled that the Apple Watch’s heart-monitoring features infringe on AliveCor patents. The ruling was upheld by President Joe Biden, who had until February 20 to veto the ban. The import ban will prevent Apple from importing any devices that infringe on AliveCor’s patents.
The ITC had found that the Apple Watch’s heart-monitoring technology was infringing on AliveCor patents, which were granted to the company in 2016. AliveCor makes EKG devices that are worn on the wrist, similar to the Apple Watch. The company filed a complaint with the ITC in 2019, alleging that Apple had violated five of its patents.
The import ban will take effect in 60 days, and it will prevent Apple from importing any devices that infringe on AliveCor’s patents. However, it is unclear how the ban will affect Apple, as the company could redesign the device to avoid infringing on AliveCor’s patents. In addition, the ruling only applies to the Apple Watch Series 4 and earlier models, as AliveCor’s patents do not cover the heart-monitoring features in the Apple Watch Series 5 and later models.
In a statement to The Verge, AliveCor CEO Priya Abani said, “We are pleased that the Commission has confirmed our patents are valid and that Apple has infringed. We have been fighting for many years to protect our intellectual property, and this decision is a significant victory for us.” Apple has not commented on the ruling.
This is not the first time that Apple has faced legal action over the heart-monitoring features in its smartwatches. In 2019, a lawsuit was filed against Apple by a group of consumers who alleged that the company had falsely advertised the heart-monitoring features in its watches. The case was later dismissed by a judge who ruled that the plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence to support their claims. However, the case was appealed and is still ongoing.