Friday, April 19, 2024

Apple Watches Pulled Off Shelves Over Patent: In 2006, They Paid $100 Million to Settle A Patent Crisis Over the iPod Touch


You’re probably aware that Apple is in hot water over its watches.

The ITC — Intermational Trade Commission — has ruled that Apple must cease selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, among other newer models, because they violate patents registered to Masimo, a medical device company. The patent involves a pulse oximeter light that Masimo holds the patent on.

The whole era of the Apple watch is now in doubt. The company can only sell their older, lower tech Watch SE. But this isn’t want people want now. They want the Ultra 2 and Series 9, which might tell them if they’re dead or alive.

So this is not the first time Apple got in trouble for helping themselves to another company’s patent.

Back in 2006, Apple had to pony up $100 million to Creative Labs, of Singapore. You see, the whole iPod and Nano line of music devices was derived from Creative’s Zen music jukebox system. It was Creative that gave us what we now think of the iTunes system. Apple liked it, so they took it. At the time, Creative had several portable MP3 players out, all reasonably priced and marketed well. But they couldn’t fight off Apple, which bigfooted them. The result was the $100 million license fee.

Creative took the $100 million, got out of the MP3 player business and because better known for its excellent sound systems for computers. After a long lull, they’re finally back with highly regarded headphones, soundbars, small speakers, and so on. The company’s creator has since passed away, but they are forging ahead.

I miss the Zen players. They were far easier to use than iPods or iPod Touch, etc. You didn’t have to get mixed up in the iTunes system. But the Goliath beat David, not a new story by any means.

The price of Apple stock has fallen a little bit since last week when this was all announced about the watches. But year to date, Apple is up around $70. If they can’t come up with a new design for their Watch, approved by the ITC, maybe there will be consequences. But probably not. Masimo’s stock has fluctuated all year, but it’s up a little bit on this news. They’ve got their own smart watch with their own patent.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News