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Apple Watch again at core of new antitrust suit filed by AliveCor

Apple Watch with ECG feature

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Claiming that Apple "copied" its Apple Watch ECG ideas, medical firm AliveCor is calling for a trial by jury over the case in California courts.

Mobile medical company AliveCor has previously filed a patent infringement suit against Apple in Texas, and also asked the US International Trade Commission to ban sales of the Apple Watch. Now it is requesting a trial by jury over the patent issues, and has filed in the Northern District of California.

According to the full filing, available below, AliveCor claims that Apple initially supported the company's development of an electrocardiogram wristband, the KardiaBand. "Apple not only initially approved AliveCor's apps... but also advertised AliveCor's innovations to sell more Apple Watches," says the suit.

"AliveCor informed Apple about [it gaining] FDA clearance and that it intended to begin selling KardiaBands shortly along with its previously-approved Kardia and SmartRhythm apps," continues the suit.

"What AliveCor did not know is that Apple had finally realized heart health analysis was incredibly valuable to (and desired by) smartwatch users, and thus had been working in the background to copy AliveCor's ideas," says AliveCor's filing, "including both the ability to record an ECG on the Apple Watch, as well as to provide a separate app for heartrate analysis."

"Apple apparently decided that it needed to try to undercut AliveCor's success and, the same day AliveCor told Apple that it planned to announce its FDA clearance, Apple 'pre-announced' a heart initiative for the Apple Watch," it continues.

Noting that Apple's "demonstrated commitment to heart health" on Apple Watch "validated AliveCor's business concept," the suit says that AliveCor then initially saw an increase in sales "and public brand awareness."

"But, as it has done multiple times over the years in other markets, Apple decided that it would not accept competition on the merits," says AliveCor's suit. It says that Apple "suddenly claimed that [previously approved AliveCor app] 'violated' various unwritten App Store guidelines."

AliveCor says Apple then altered App Store guidelines, and even updated watchOS specifically to "suddenly render SmartRhythm inoperable."

The 16,000-word filing concludes by saying that AliveCor "has no adequate remedy at law because monetary damages will not afford adequate relief for the loss of [its] business relationships and client goodwill."

AliveCor therefore seeks trial by jury, with damages to be determined

Apple has not commented publicly on the new filing, nor on the previous patent infringement suit.

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