back to article The clock is ticking on a possible US import ban for Apple Watch

The Biden Administration has decided not to veto a ruling, which could result in an import ban on Apple Watches that include patent-infringing heart monitoring hardware. By not issuing a review during the 60-day window allowed, the White House has effectively approved a December decision by the US International Trade …

  1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Having a crappy patent system helps nobody.

    AliveCor have no clue whether their patent is valid until after the courts have settled it. They may not have wanted the patent turned down. But at least they would have known where they stood. (And maybe they could have appealed to the courts then. Or moved on before wasting so much time and money.)

    And if the patent had survived, they could have gone into this contest with confidence that their patent would stand up to courts because it had already survived tough scrutiny. Instead, their business could hang on a thread.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Or, more likely, they reckon that their patents are sound, but don't fancy betting the farm against crApple and their army of battle-hardened and astonishingly well-paid IP lawyers, who hold all relevant patents related to "wriggling off the hook via a loophole".

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Or paying millions in damages, but no admission of guilt.

        Never seen that before with Apple.

        1. Catkin Silver badge

          Remember when they were so upset about a judge forcing them to apologise (after making a contemptuous non apology) that they implemented specific code to ensure that visitors would only see their (new) apology by scrolling:

          https://www.theregister.com/2012/11/05/apple_apology_take_2/

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Pat ain't ...

      They claim that "KardiaBand provides accurate and instant analysis for detecting Atrial Fibrillation, Bradycardia, Tachycardia and Normal heart rhythm" but while the detection of the heart contractions on the wrist might be subject to a patent, the analysis resulting in the detection of Atrial Fibrillation, Bradycardia, Tachycardia and Normal heart beats is just a result of processing the ECG contraction data. So if the patent claims to be detecting Fibrillation, Bradycardia, and Tachycardia etc then that's something that researchers and clinicians (and me) have been doing for the last 50 years.

      1. localzuk Silver badge

        Re: Pat ain't ...

        You can't patent someone using knowledge to analyse data.

        You potentially can patent software that does it. Well, in the USA anyway, where software is patentable (absurdly).

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Pat ain't ...

        "that's something that researchers and clinicians (and me) have been doing for the last 50 years."

        On a mobile[1] device?

        [1] No, not a trolley on wheels, "mobile device" in patent terms only seems to apply to mobile phones, tablets and "wearables"[2]

        [2] No, in patent terms, "wearables" does not mean clothes in any form unless they have embedded electronics.

  2. UCAP Silver badge

    Prediction

    The only people who will gain from this argument are the lawyers.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Prediction

      Not just the lawyers. This dysfunctional system also benefits the bigger tech companies.

      Small outfits and startups don't have the money to defend their IP in court. Not only that, but the big tech firms have the money to lobby for changes to the patent system that favour them. And in Google's case, have their former head of patent strategy be made head of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

  3. Robert Jenkins
    WTF?

    Old hat and legal nonsense

    The Pebble 2 / Time 2 smartwatches incorporated heart monitoring & they were released on Kickstarter in May 2016, a while before Apple incorporated heart rate in their watches.

    There is nothing truly original that I can see from a quick look through the main patent claims, just a compilation of existing ideas from other devices or systems.

    One of the fundamental requirements of a truly valid patent was originally that to be patentable at all, the ideas or concepts in the patent had to be something significantly beyond a simple step in progress that a "competent engineer in the field" (or something along those lines) would likely be able to produce.

    Miniaturising and combining existing devices concepts as technology advances is just linear progress, not the technological leap beyond that which a patent was supposed to protect.

    Patents now appear to have become simply an anti-competition tool for big business to tie up or hold back its competitors by legal action and ludicrous expenses, rather than anything to do with genuinely new and original ideas.

  4. Someone Else Silver badge
    WTF?

    Puh-LEEEZE!

    Apple didn't respond to our questions about how it intends to respond, but is reportedly planning to appeal the ITC decision on the grounds that it would have a negative effect on public health.

    Such patent1 bullshit. Make you wonder how we as a species managed to overpopulate the earth to the tune of 7+ billion folks without having Apple there to constantly guide our lives with their paternalistic monitoring. One could make a compelling argument that the entire Apple iThingie ecosystem (specifically including the Apple Watch) has a negative effect on public health, what with its promotion of a sedentary lifestyle, and demonstrably addictive presentations that tend to disable one's brain during use.2

    1See what I did there? ;-)

    2Yes, once again I had to dodge some double-epsilon semi-moron randomly wandering between lanes on the freeway while they were ineffectively managing some iThing at 75 mph.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Puh-LEEEZE!

      Their argument is pretty stupid, but yours isn't exactly great either.

      "One could make a compelling argument that the entire Apple iThingie ecosystem (specifically including the Apple Watch) has a negative effect on public health, what with its promotion of a sedentary lifestyle, and demonstrably addictive presentations that tend to disable one's brain during use."

      The Apple Watch, a device that famously turns exercise into a game where if you skip a day, you lose, is "promotion of a sedentary lifestyle"? I don't think you should need a watch to tell you you haven't walked enough, but from those I know who have one, they're frequently exercising more to make their watch fill in their daily goal system, and if they've been stationary for long enough, the watch tells them to start moving again. They've built their fitness software to discourage a sedentary lifestyle. Whether they've done it correctly, and as I haven't bought one I'm not sure, is debatable.

      Also, the applications people use when their brains appear turned off are in most cases not written by Apple. The people you're complaining about are likely using one of a number of apps from social media or gaming companies, and they happen to be running on an Apple device. I don't know that I agree with your complaints in general, but it's akin to blaming the computer manufacturers or browser writers when you don't like what people do on the internet.

  5. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Coat

    El' Reg loves alternative units of measure

    Since Cryptocurrency was mentioned in the article along with the term 'investment'....here is a quick unit conversion:

    One Bitcoin, purchased on January 1, 2023 and sold today would see a USD gain of ~$7400. The Apple Watch 8 starts at USD $399.

    Therefore if El Reg is going to comment on Cryptocurrency as an investment, it should be reported that Bitcoin has risen in value over 18 'Apple Watches' since the start of the New Year.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: El' Reg loves alternative units of measure

      What's that in sheep ?

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: El' Reg loves alternative units of measure

        Value of a sheep fluctuates depending on if you;re Welsh or not.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Value of a sheep fluctuates depending on if you;re Welsh or not.

          Or if from New Zealand, how pretty it is.

        2. ludicrous_buffoon

          Re: El' Reg loves alternative units of measure

          That's just shear nonsense; you'll be fleeced before ewe know it!

    2. fungus

      Re: El' Reg loves alternative units of measure

      One Bitcoin, purchased 1 year ago and sold today would see a USD *LOSS* of ~$13374.

      Bitcoin has lowered in value over 33 'Apple Watches' since last year.

  6. sabroni Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    on the grounds that it would have a negative effect on public health

    See, they just did it for our own good!!

  7. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Invention

    I read the patent and I am puzzled. Where is the invention?

    Seems like anything can get patented these days.

  8. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    Risk of making a product that relies on Apple.

    Once you have done the trial marketing for them, they will just incorporate it and shut you out.

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