The Apple Watch Series 3, among other models, is being scrutinized in a new patent lawsuit brought by a Michigan technology company. The suit is reportedly focused on the Apple Watches’ use of their popular heart rate technology, which is one of the key features in the wristwatch gadget. The feature has been one of the main health aspects promoted by the company as a reason to own and use the Apple Watch during exercise or just to track daily activity levels. Here are the latest details on the patent lawsuit that Apple is facing in Texas.
As reported by Slash Gear, a Michigan-based tech startup company named Omni MedSci has filed the suit as of Friday in the Eastern District court of Texas. The lawsuit claims that Omni MedSci had talks with Apple between 2014 and 2016 about a partnership but those never ended up going anywhere as Apple eventually ended the talks. The company is claiming Apple infringed on patents for several concepts they had for “near-infrared and mid-infrared broadband lasers” that Apple introduced as part of their watches not long after ending their discussions. It’s unknown what sort of damages are being sought based on the recent reports.
The first version of the Apple Watch was introduced in April of 2015, with the Series 1 and Series 2 released in September of 2016. The Apple Watch Series 3 is the latest version and was released just six months ago. While Fitbit and other companies had fitness-tracker products on the market before Apple Watch, it was one of the first mainstream devices introduced for a variety of purposes in addition to health. The original watches required being paired with an iPhone to use certain features such as listening to music or taking phone calls, although the heart rate monitor was standard and didn’t require an iPhone connection to work.
The original version of the Apple Watch in 2015 featured the built-in heart rate sensor using “photoplethysmography,” a technology which used green LED lights along with “light-sensitive photodiodes” in order to detect the amount of blood flow in someone’s wrist. The watch’s heart rate technology flashes LED lights “hundreds of times per second,” according to Apple’s website. The technology is still used in the Apple Watch Series 3 models that are currently on the market.
It should be noted that Slash Gear indicates the lawsuit may have been filed by a “patent troll specialist” who has collected over 150 patents between six different companies. The particular area that the patent suit against Apple Watch was filed in is also considered “patent-friendly.”