NYU Doctor Sues Apple over Smartwatch Tech

Over the last year, Apple Watches have saved numerous lives thanks to their ability to detect problems with people’s hearts before casualties happen. However, a recent lawsuit filed by a New York University doctor claims that Apple used technology that he developed in their watch without acknowledging him in any way. Joseph Wiesel was granted a patent in 2006 for tech that noted a method for detecting atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat that causes over 750,000 hospitalizations a year and is a core component of the Apple smartwatch.

Suspicious Timing for the Advancement

In the filing done on Friday, Wiesel mentions that he sent the details of the patent to Apple after they released the Series 3 smartwatch. A year later, when the company introduced the Series 4 to the market, the AFib technology was included in it. The earlier versions of the smartwatch also got an upgrade that introduced the feature for users of the older versions as well. While the technology is revolutionary and has saved lives, it isn’t the same as a doctor. It functions by sending warnings to the user’s phone when it detects AFib anomalies.

A Demand for Royalties

The suit alleges that Apple utilized Dr. Wiesel’s patent without paying him for it. He claims that they should pay him royalties for using his license in their smartwatches and that Apple ceases and desists from using his technology without permission. The court documents note that Apple failed to negotiate with the doctor in good faith, which led to the filing of the lawsuit. The company, Dr. Wiesel, contends, knows that the technology they are using is his and that this technology is pertinent to the company’s business aims. Apple has risen to become a world leader in wearables thanks to the advancements in the smartwatch. Bloomberg reports that Apple was responsible for a quarter of all wearables shipped to consumers in 2018. Losing AFib technology may impact the company’s competitiveness in the coming years.