The latest legal dispute between Apple and pulse oximetry company Masimo ended today in a mistrial bloomberg. The jury overseeing the case was unable to reach a final decision in its deliberations, prompting U.S. District Judge James Selna to declare a mistrial.
Six of the jurors wanted to decide in favor of Apple, but one of the jurors stuck hard on Massimo, resulting in a deadlock. Earlier this afternoon, the jurors sent the judge a note asking what to do because the juror who voted for Massimo would not change her position.
The judge initially planned to send the jurors home for the night as deliberations continued on Tuesday, but after they insisted they would not be able to reach a consensus, he chose to.
Apple and Masimo have been in court for the past few weeks to determine whether Apple illegally stole Masimo employees and stole trade secrets when developing the Apple Watch. Massimo was seeking more than $1.8 billion in damages and joint ownership of five pulse oximetry patents from Apple that Massimo said used its technology.
Apple in July 2013 appointed Michael O’Reilly chief medical officer, and then, in 2014, appointed Marcello Lamego chief technology officer of Cercacor (Cercacor is a Masimo company). Masimo claims the former employees improperly shared Masimo’s intellectual property when they developed the Apple Watch, which Apple denies.
During the trial, Massimo tried to demonstrate that Apple Watch development was faltering before hiring Massimo employees, pointing to a 2013 email where now-retired Apple CEO Bob Mansfield called the Apple Watch a “mess” and said the sensor would do the trick. “fail” on its “current path”.
Apple has confirmed that there was no Masimo IP used in its work on the Apple Watch, and that what Masimo claims are “trade secrets” are ideas “that have been known for a long time and used by many companies.” Apple said that Masimo targeted it because Massimo saw the success of the Apple Watch and wanted to make his own smartwatch. Massimo has already introduced an Apple Watch-like wearable in late 2022 after decades of focusing on large medical devices for healthcare.
In a statement to Mac rumorsApple said it plans to ask the court to dismiss the trade secret allegations. For context, five of Massimo’s claims against Apple were dismissed during trial, diminishing Massimo’s self-calculated award.
“We thank the jury for their careful consideration of this case. We deeply respect intellectual property and innovation and do not take or use confidential information from other companies. We are pleased that the Court properly dismissed half of the plaintiffs’ trade secret claims, and will now ask the Court to dismiss the remaining claims.”
Massimo said he plans to continue prosecuting the commercial theft case.
“While we are disappointed that the jury was unable to reach a verdict, we intend to retry the case and continue to seek legal relief against Apple. As this process begins, the US Trade Commission is scheduled to decide in the coming months whether to ban the import of certain Apple Watch models, following a ruling by an administrative law judge last year that Apple infringed one of Masimo’s pulse oximetry patents.”
Massimo previously sued Apple for patent infringement, but the US Patent and Trademark Office ended up invalidating all but two of his patents. The United States International Trade Commission said in January that Apple had infringed Masimo’s patent, a case that is still ongoing.