Apple has apparently settled a lawsuit with biometrics firm Valencell regarding alleged patent infringement regarding the Apple Watch. According to The 5K Runner website, the case has been settled and neither company plans to comment.
In January 2016, Valencell sued Apple, claiming the company ripped off its heart sensor technology for the Apple Watch. Around February 2013, Apple assembled a team to develop a smartwatch.
At that time, the company intended to incorporate a heart sensor into the Apple Watch (which it did). The lawsuit claims that, around that same time, Liang Hoe, a senior partnership manager at Apple, contacted Valencell regarding a partnership opportunity and that “Apple expressed an interest in Valencell’s heart sensor technology.”
During discussions between the two companies, per the lawsuit, Valencell demoed a prototype PerformTek-powered watch to approximately 15 Apple employees. (PerformTek sensor technology “continuously measures more real-time biometric data than other fitness monitors, with a high degree of accuracy, and does so in a single device”). The back of the watch included a heart-rate monitor that was “substantially similar” to the one that ended up in the Apple, Valencell claims.
The lawsuit claims that Apple solicited technical information from Valencell on the false premise that it wanted to license the company’s PerformTek technology, but didn’t. The lawsuit asserts that “Apple is knowingly using Valencell’s patented technology in an effort to achieve a licensing rate that is below a reasonable royalty.”