Apple accused of infringing patents in Apple Watch heart rate sensor technology

Apple is facing another patent lawsuit, this time from a Michigan-based technology startup that claims the heart rate technology used in the Apple Watch infringes on its patented technology. The startup,
Omni MedSci, specializes in near-infrasrer and mid-infrared broadband lasers, and says that it met with Apple from 2014 to 2016 to discuss the use of its technology, but Apple broke off partnership discussions before later introducing technology using Omni MedSci’s approach. The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern district of Texas on Friday and claims that Apple willfully infringed on its patents and is seeking both damages and an injunction against the company.
According to a report by MacRumors, the owner of Omni MedSci, Mohammed Islam, has been described as a “poster child for a patenting professional” and owns six different companies which have collected more than 150 patents between them. In speaking to a Crain’s Detroit Business in 2015, Islam described getting patents that “will withstand legislation” as “an art form.” The site noted that Islam teaches courses on writing patents at the University of Michigan, where he shows engineering students the right way and wrong way to win patents, and how to write patents that avoid “design-arounds” that would allow other parties to avoid patent infringement. Far from being just a patent troll, however, Islam does appear to have legitimate expertise in optical and laser technology, and has been doing work for the U.S. Department of Defense and members of the intelligence community for a number of years. Islam’s patent holding company, Cheetah Omni, has brought infringement lawsuits in the past against Fujitsu, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Nokia, and Siemens, all of which reportedly settled out of court, as well as three subsidiaries of Verizon, where a jury awarded it $5.4 million in damages.

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