In a significant legal victory for tech giant Apple, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Silicon Valley startup AliveCor, alleging monopolistic practices in the U.S. market for heart rate monitoring apps designed for the Apple Watch.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, presiding in Oakland, California, delivered the ruling on Tuesday, dealing a blow to AliveCor’s claims. The startup, known for its app capable of detecting irregular heartbeats, had accused Apple of breaching antitrust laws, including the federal Sherman Act, and California’s unfair competition law.
The details of Judge White’s decision are presently under seal due to confidentiality concerns, with the reasoning behind the dismissal temporarily withheld from public view.
Expressing disappointment over the court’s decision, AliveCor issued a statement asserting their intent to appeal. “AliveCor is deeply disappointed and strongly disagrees with the court’s decision to dismiss our anti-competition case and we plan to appeal,” the company stated.
Responding to the ruling, Apple emphasized that the lawsuit targeted its ability to innovate and enhance the Apple Watch, a product highly valued by consumers and developers alike. “Today’s outcome confirms that is not anticompetitive,” the company asserted in its statement.
AliveCor had amended its complaint to accuse Apple of initially indicating collaboration on heart-monitoring technology for the Apple Watch, only to allegedly appropriate its concepts and pursue what it described as a “concentrated campaign to corner the market for heartrate analysis.”
Among the allegations, AliveCor claimed that Apple “updated” the heart rate algorithm in its watches to obstruct third parties from identifying irregular heartbeats and offering competing apps.
The startup had developed the KardiaBand, a wristband accessory for the Apple Watch capable of recording electrocardiograms (ECGs), alongside the Kardia app for ECG analysis on Apple Watches, and the SmartRhythm heart rate analysis app driven by artificial intelligence.
Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, firmly denied any wrongdoing, asserting that competitors lacked the authority to influence its design decisions.
While this lawsuit has been dismissed, AliveCor continues to pursue separate patent infringement claims against Apple, keeping the legal battle between the two tech entities ongoing.
The case, officially listed as AliveCor Inc v Apple Inc, was heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under docket number 21-03958.