Tech

A Cardiologist Filed a Lawsuit Against Apple Over the Watch’s ECG Functions

By Bill Toulas / December 28, 2019

A New York-based cardiologist named Joseph Wiesel has filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. claiming that the tech giant’s Watch is using his patented heartbeat monitoring invention. The doctor is now asking the court to consider the approval of a hefty compensation, as he claims that Apple has ignored his messages since September 2017. As Apple hasn’t accepted to negotiate with the cardiologist previously, he decided that filling a lawsuit was now the only option left.

From what we could find, Mr. Wiesel has filed a series of patents that concern heartbeat arrhythmia detection, the oldest of which (2006) is numbered US20060195037A1, and which describes “A method and apparatus to determine possible atrial fibrillation or absence of atrial fibrillation that includes detecting pulse rhythms from a succession of time intervals each corresponding to a respective interval of time between successive pulse beats.”

For those who haven’t been following the tech news very closely, Apple watchOS brought an exciting new ECG (electrocardiogram) app almost a year ago, featuring heart rhythm detection, sinus rhythms, and alerts on potential risks of atrial fibrillation. All this sounds very similar to what is described in Wiesel’s patent, and so the question now arises about whether Apple has infringed the man’s patent or not. This will be decided by the Brooklyn Federal Court, which is where the lawsuit was submitted.

Apple’s watches have already saved hundreds by informing them of irregular heartbeat that is indicative of an emergency. So, the doctor is not asking the tech giant to remove their ECG app, but to pay him a fair indemnity for allegedly using his technology. As he claims, Apple violating his rights with knowledge and understanding, as they used the doctor’s normal and abnormal patterns to determine what constitutes a regular heartbeat and what should be considered irregular.

Apple has refused to provide an official comment on this but the trial is definitely set to be particularly tricky. The company could claim that they have consulted other cardiologists during their extensive testing and development cycles, and due to the common heart functionality context that underpins all humans, it would be natural for them to reach the same conclusion-generating systems. Moreover, the court is bound to consider the beneficial effects that the ECG app and by extension the product has in the society. Considering the huge market success of the Apple Watch and the key role that the ECG functionality plays in that, Mr. Wiesel could receive a huge compensation.

What do you think is going to happen in this legal fight? Share your predictions with us in the comments section down below, or on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.



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