The end of the year was difficult for Apple. Due to a patent dispute with Masimo, the manufacturer has suspended sales of the Apple Watch in the United States. However, the decision was temporarily relaxed, and smartwatches remained in stores until January 12. However, further developments have options.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman explains what exactly preceded the conflict.

In 2003, Marcelo Lamego, a Brazilian PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford, joined Masimo. He was appointed a researcher. In 2006, he became CTO of the Cercacor subsidiary, where he remained until 2014. 

In early 2013, Apple made an offer to Lamego to join the company. The company’s executives were just meeting to finalize the deal. At that time, the engineer refused Apple’s offer.

However, after Masimo refused to offer him a better position, Mr. Lamego changed his mind and wrote a letter to Tim Cook.

“I have developed several medical devices in the last 10 years and I am positively sure I could add a significant value to the Apple team, if I was given the chance of becoming part of it. I strongly believe that we can develop the new wave of technology that will make Apple the No. 1 brand in the medical, fitness and wellness market,” the letter read.

10 hours after that, a recruiter from Cupertino was already talking to him.

Apple and Masimo did not have any agreements to share technology at the time. But the Apple Watch was already in development, so Mr. Lamego could have been a good addition to the team. In addition to him, 20 other Masimo employees joined Apple at the time.

Lamego joined Apple’s R&D team in January 2014. However, he did not stay there for long and left after 7 months. According to Steve Hotelling, one of Apple’s former executives, the engineer simply “didn’t fit in” because he “clashed with managers, demanded multimillion-dollar budgets, and wanted to be able to hire his own engineers without permission.”

According to Masimo’s lawyers, Lamego had no real knowledge of the development of the blood oxygen measurement device that Apple was interested in at the time. However, he did share his knowledge with Cercacor and Masimo.

In September 2014, the Apple Watch was introduced, but the watch did not receive the function of measuring blood oxygen content until 2020.

As for Marcelo Lamego, he founded his own startup, True Wearables, and released the Oxxiom blood oxygen monitoring device. Masimo filed a lawsuit, won, and stopped sales of the startup’s product.

Later, when rumors surfaced that the Apple Watch would have a blood oxygen measurement function, Masimo’s fight with Apple and accusations of intercepting footage began.