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Masimo has spent $100M in Apple Watch patent infringement fight

Apple Watch Ultra

Masimo's legal battle with Apple has so far cost the company about $100 million, but its CEO says it won't stop until Apple changes how it deals with smaller companies.

The ITC import and sales ban of the Apple Watch in the United States was a short but important win for Masimo, the company that claims Apple infringes on its blood oxygen sensing patents. Despite the major albeit brief ban of Apple Watch sales, Masimo still intends to keep going against Apple to prove a point.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Saturday, CEO Joe Kiani declared that the fight has so far seen Masimo spend "around $100 million" fighting Apple over its technology.

Just as expressed in an earlier interview, Kiani intends to continue the fight, and that he won't settle until Apple pays for the technology and agrees to change its interactions with smaller companies.

Before his legal action, employees and friends warned Kiani of the risks of doing so against such a major opponent. "People were telling me I'm crazy and I can't go against Apple," Kiani said, with Apple described as having "unlimited resources".

Even so, with Apple's previous history of dealing with patent violation allegations from smaller companies, Kiani thinks he can make a difference in their favor. "No-one is standing up to them. If I can do it, it might change Apple for the better," he said.

A lucrative track record

Kiani and Masimo's history of legal action certainly works in his favor, with repeated wins over others in the courtroom concerning patent infringement. "Justice isn't just blind but very slow," insists Kiani. "It's painful. It's an ugly thing to go through. It's like war."

The profile on the company and Kiani's legal fights includes claims that some people view his "aggressive use of the U.S. patent system" as being "exploitation that stymies the innovation of others."

The battles picked by Kiani are protracted but lucrative to Masimo. In one seven-year patent fight with Nellcor that ended in 2006, Masimo secured damages and royalties that eventually totaled close to $800 million.

Meanwhile another seven-year patent infringement spat against Royal Philips which settled in 2016 saw Philips pay $300 million and agree to use Masimo's technology in its product. That move earned Masimo in excess of $1 billion.

While Masimo has so far spent around $100 million on its legal case against Apple, it still has some spare cash available. In 2022, the company posted around $144 million in profit.

Though Apple hasn't sought discussions with Masimo for a settlement, Kiani is said to be determined enough to continue, even if he loses the company.

"I feel like I have to do this," Kiani insisted to the report. "If I can change the most powerful company in the world from continuing to act badly, that'll have more impact on the world than anything else I'm doing."