The Late-Night Email to Tim Cook That Set the Apple Watch Saga in Motion

Apple Watch Saga Set in Motion: The Late-Night Email to Tim Cook | Mr. Business Magazine

The late-night email to Tim Cook that started the Apple Watch story, In 2013 a scientist emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook at 1 a.m. with a proposal to make Apple the leader in the medical, fitness, and wellness market. The email led to swift recruitment, and within weeks, the engineer, Marcelo Lamego, was working on a smartwatch with health sensors. Lamego, formerly CTO of Cercacor Laboratories, a sister company of Masimo Corp., played a crucial role, leading to a legal battle between Apple and Masimo.

Masimo alleges Apple poached employees, including Lamego, resulting in patent infringement. Apple denies wrongdoing, but recent legal developments led to the temporary removal of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 from U.S. stores, impacting a $17 billion business. The dispute involves claims of stolen technology, employee poaching, and allegations of improper practices, with both companies trading legal blows. Masimo argues Lamego took vital technology to Apple, while Apple contends it followed proper procedures. The legal saga continues amid the backdrop of technological innovation and fierce competition in the wearables market. 

Apple vs. Masimo

Apple argues that Masimo sued it to clear the field for its own consumer-focused wearables. Masimo recently released the W1, a square smartwatch with an array of health sensors. And it’s planning to soon release the Freedom Apple watch, which has more health capabilities and a round, more modern-looking design. In an attempt to reach more consumers, it acquired Sound United, owner of speaker maker Bowers & Wilkins, for more than $1 billion last year.

Apple countersued Masimo in 2022, saying that the W1 took the design of the Apple Watch. “Masimo copied from Apple Watch and is freeriding on Apple’s hard work,” the company said.

The genesis of this legal dispute dates back to the early hours of 2013 when a scientist initiated contact with Tim Cook, presenting a vision that could propel Apple to the forefront of the medical and wellness industry. This late-night email set off a chain of events that eventually led to the hiring of Marcelo Lamego, a Stanford engineering Ph.D. and former CTO of Cercacor Laboratories, a crucial player in the unfolding drama.

Lamego’s recruitment by Apple triggered a flurry of activity, marked by the filing of numerous patents related to health sensors and algorithms for gauging blood-oxygen levels. However, what initially seemed like a strategic move for Apple soon spiraled into a legal battle, as Masimo Corp., a relatively obscure medical device maker, alleged that Apple’s actions infringed upon its patents and disrupted its business.

Apple appeals its Apple watch ban amid a patent dispute with Masimo

More Accusations:

At the heart of Masimo’s claims is the assertion that Lamego, armed with Masimo’s proprietary technology, left the company to join Apple. Masimo contends that the blood-oxygen level feature, which later became a hallmark of the Apple Watch, originated from their technology. The legal skirmish intensified as Masimo accused Apple of not only poaching Lamego but also hiring other key personnel, including Masimo’s former chief medical officer.

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