Apple fails in bid to kill heart-rate apps antitrust trial

Apple Watch with ECG feature

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AliveCor's lawsuit alleging Apple is anti-competitively blocking third-party heart-rate apps on Apple Watch will now go to trial, a federal judge has ruled.

Mobile medical company AliveCor filed suit against Apple in May 2021, seeing trial by jury over its claims that Apple updated watchOS to block its third-party heart monitoring app. Now a US federal judge has ruled that the case can go trial.

According to Reuters, US District Judge Jeffrey White has ruled that AliveCor may attempt to prove that Apple violated antitrust law.

"AliveCor alleges that Apple made changes to the heart rate algorithm that made it effectively impossible for third parties to inform a user when to take an ECG," Judge White wrote in his ruling. "Plaintiff's allegations plausibly establish that Apple's conduct was anticompetitive."

Judge White, however, dismissed AliveCor's separate claim that Apple operates a monopoly over smart watches that can include ECG features. According to the judge, AliveCor's KadiaBand ECG-recording wristband "complements but does not compete" in the same market.

The allegation of Apple being anti-competitive is one of a series of suits AliveCor has brought against the company. The include ones over alleged patent infringement, and AliveCor has previously sought a ban on Apple Watch sales.