Apple Watch import ban kicked off a decade ago by an early-morning email to Tim Cook

Apple Watch import ban kicked off a decade ago by an early-morning email to Tim Cook

technology By Dec 27, 2023 No Comments

Apple Watch Import Ban: The Decade-Long Legal Battle

Back in 2013, an early-morning email to Tim Cook triggered a legal dispute for Apple, leading to a ban on the sale of the Apple Watch in the United States. This unexpected turn of events stemmed from a seemingly innocuous email exchange that eventually evolved into a decade-long legal battle between Apple and device producer Masimo.

The Start of a Legal Nightmare

It all began with an email sent by scientist Marcelo Lamego to CEO Tim Cook, proposing to help Apple develop new technology for the medical, fitness, and wellness market. This bold email led to swift Action, with Lamego joining Apple‘s Engineering team within weeks to work on developing Health sensors, including those to measure a person’s blood-oxygen level. However, this move triggered unforeseen consequences.

An Employee Poaching Allegation

What seemed like a routine hiring quickly turned into a legal headache for Apple. Masimo accused Apple of poaching employees, citing Lamego’s previous association with the company. Lamego’s employment history with Masimo and its sister company, Cercacor Laboratories, became the core of Masimo’s patent infringement suit against Apple.

industry Intrigue and Allegations

The legal battle continued with claims and counterclaims from both sides. Masimo alleged that Lamego shared proprietary information related to blood-oxygen feature development with Apple, while Apple maintained that Lamego’s departure was due to his inability to fit into the company’s culture, citing disagreements with management and budgetary demands.

A Winding Legal Road

The legal saga took unexpected turns, with Apple‘s counter-argument stating that the blood-oxygen feature’s development began after Lamego left the company. The email that started it all was considered a crucial piece of evidence for Masimo, although it did not provide the decisive edge in the main lawsuit against Apple.

Expanding the Legal Battlefield

Despite the complexities of the legal battle, the scope of the conflict broadened beyond the initial dispute, as Masimo accused Apple of using technology insights gained during previous collaboration meetings for the Apple Watch. The recruitment of key personnel from Masimo further fueled the tension between the two companies.

Resolving a Decade-Long Dispute

After a prolonged legal battle, the dispute between Apple and Masimo was eventually resolved through negotiations and settlements. Although the details of the resolution remain confidential, the conclusion of the conflict marked the end of a protracted and complex legal ordeal that started with an early-morning email.

Implications and Lessons Learned

The case of Apple‘s legal entanglement with Masimo offers valuable insights into the challenges and ramifications of high-stakes disputes in the technology industry. It underscores the importance of professional ethics, safeguarding proprietary information, and the risks associated with talent acquisition from competitor companies.


The story of the Apple Watch import ban serves as a cautionary tale for Tech companies, emphasizing the need for stringent ethical standards and legal diligence in the pursuit of Innovation. While the conflict has been resolved, the lessons learned from this decade-long legal battle resonate across the technology and Business landscapes, serving as a reminder of the complexities and risks inherent in the pursuit of competitive advantage.

Source: appleinsider

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