New Delhi: Tech startups have an unspoken rule: never try apple In court if you want to survive.
The world’s most valuable company has a track record of success in a long series of battles between David and Goliath for cutting-edge, life-changing technology.but a millionaire Vinod Khosla Not lightweight.he is one of them silicon valleyThe most famous venture capitalist, he is used to making long bets on the startups he backs.
Khosla Ventures LLC apple Inc. entered the personal health and fitness arena ten years ago, alive core, a manufacturer of cardiac monitoring devices and software.What has been a major partnership opportunity for alive core in the years after its release apple watch In 2015, a court battle erupted over the provision of watch bands to monitor heart health.
Instead of riding Apple’s tailwinds as a prominent player in the wearable medical device market, which is now projected to grow to $132.5 billion by 2031, the tens of millions of people who buy an Apple Watch each year will benefit from AliveCor’s Food and Drug. Authority-approved technology is no longer accessible. .
The startup is in its third year trying to prove to a judge that the iPhone maker blatantly copied the company’s heart-monitoring technology, sabotaging AliveCor’s ability to offer its product on the Apple Watch. Apple has fended off this by claiming that smaller rivals’ patent infringement and antitrust claims are unfounded, and by claiming AliveCor is a copycat.
“We fought because we could,” Khosla said. “We decided to make this a public struggle because I think it’s really important not to bully people.”
Khosla is notorious for being tenacious. In 2018, he took it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to block public access to the Pacific beaches he owns 30 miles south of San Francisco, but five years after being denied, he’s now fighting in a district court. ing.
So did AliveCor, which recently won a lawsuit against Apple at the White House when President Joe Biden failed to veto a Washington Trade Court ruling that could theoretically ban Apple Watch imports. bottom. However, the ban will not go into effect unless AliveCor wins a lengthy appeal on certain pending patents.
AliveCor traced the controversy back to 2015, announcing that its co-founder David Albert was invited by Apple executives to show off the KardiaBand, a heart-monitoring device, and was told the iPhone maker would work with them. bottom.
Apple said the conference was similar to hundreds of other conferences the company has held with developers in the past, and nothing pretended to be a partnership.
After 18 months of debate, in an “obvious attempt to steal AliveCor’s thunder,” Apple announced its own heart for the Apple Watch just hours after AliveCor notified tech companies of the band’s official launch date. announced a health initiative. AliveCor later claimed: litigation.
Over the next few years, as Apple updates its Watch operating system, other services will no longer be allowed to offer heart rate monitoring on its devices due to the company’s “intensive campaign to corner the market.” AliveCor said in an antitrust complaint filed over two years. in federal court in Oakland, California. Apple has denied the allegations, saying it has allowed third-party apps to use its heart rate sensor technology since 2015.
Apple said AliveCor’s claim that access to user data was blocked was a result of the company’s decision not to tweak the technology for more accurate heart health reporting on the Apple Watch. A ruling on Apple’s decision to dismiss the antitrust complaint is expected soon. If Apple does not win at this stage, the trial will begin in 2024.
The patent skirmish began in 2020 when AliveCor filed an infringement lawsuit against Apple in Texas. Apple fought back and won a Commerce Department Patent Commission ruling invalidating three AliveCor patents critical to its technology as unworthy of legal protection in the first place. AliveCor has escalated the dispute to a federal appeals court, but a ruling may not be handed down until next year.
“As a practical matter, Apple has the upper hand given its huge war chest.”
Apple has done nothing wrong and denies Mr. Khosla’s allegations that it is bullying small businesses. Apple said it partners with companies, institutions and organizations to help advance science and medicine, and its technology is leading to better patient outcomes and health savings in hospitals and clinics.
“We have a deep respect for intellectual property and innovation, and we do not obtain or use confidential information from other companies,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to protect the innovations we drive on behalf of our customers from false allegations.”
CEO of AliveCor Priya Avani described his company as “thriving,” saying it has sold 2.5 million devices, offers subscription services and has obtained regulatory approvals in 42 countries.
But legal experts are skeptical that AliveCor can win a campaign to prove that Apple illegally blocked its technology from the Apple Watch, or to collect royalty payments from adversaries. target.
Adam Mossoff, a law professor at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, said, “In an ideal world, small businesses would have the upper hand, but the reality is that Apple’s big war chest will give it the upper hand. standing,” he said.
Cardozo School of Law professor Saurav Vishnuvakat said that AliveCor’s application of antitrust laws against companies accused of patent infringement as patent owners is itself “relatively uncommon.” It is usually said that it works in reverse, establishing monopoly power in the market for the patent owner, he said.
Medical device maker Masimo finally went to court three years after accusing Apple of using stolen trade secrets in the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor. But in early May, after a Southern California jury told a judge it was tilting 6-1 in favor of Apple, it became clear that a unanimous verdict could not be obtained, and the judge declared a miscarriage of justice. .
If AliveCor wins, it would reverse the trend in which startups claiming to have been beaten by Apple were usually killed in court by behemoths.
According to Crunchbase, Khosla Ventures has invested in five of six funding rounds AliveCor has raised, raising nearly $154 million. A spokeswoman for Khosla Ventures said the company is one of AliveCor’s largest investors, but declined to provide further details.
AliveCor’s chairman of the board, Khosla, declined to comment on whether the company is receiving assistance in paying legal costs.
“We do not support lawsuits,” Khosla said of his venture capital firm. “There are a lot of people who support lawsuits.
AliveCall considered the impact of the legal battle on its bottom line, but decided that “we have to fight for our rights,” Avani said. “Because if we let it go, they won’t come pick it up the next time we innovate.”