In more late-breaking news from the Masimo v. Apple trade secrets trial, we learn that U.S. District Judge James V. Selna has cut Masimo’s trade secrets claims in half, down from twelve initial claims to now six viable claims. Based on the expert estimated value of the claims cut, that takes this case from one valued at $3.1 billion in damages to one now valued at $1.8 billion.
See more on this late-breaking Masimo v. Apple trial news
Apple’s attorneys have really earned their pay no matter how this case is ultimately decided by the jury, which is now deliberating the matter as this post is being written. With one decision by Judge Selna, at the very least, the Apple attorneys succeeded in saving their client a minimum of $1.3 billion in potential liability. And perhaps they’ve succeeded in winning the matter in full, depending on what the jury determines.
As I pointed out in my story posted just this morning, both sides in this matter filed what’s known as Rule 50(a) motions – common motions at the end of a trial seeking judgment before turning the matter over to juries – that seek to dispose of some or all of the litigation at hand based on what evidence was presented at trial. These motions are quite common in civil litigation but often don’t succeed in altering the outcome.
Judge Agrees with Apple & Dismisses Six of Twelve Masimo Claims
However, this time, Apple attorneys did succeed in part, according to reporting by legal reporter Meghann Cuniff, as Judge Selna agreed with them that six of the twelve initially asserted Masimo claims would not go to the jury for determination and would instead be dismissed from the case. The judge apparently agreed with the Apple attorney’s suggestion that no reasonable jury could find liability on these six items.
The dismissed claims centered around business and marketing strategies that Apple used in promoting the electrocardiogram features in certain Apple Watch models. Masimo’s technology covers both blood oximetry and electrocardiogram capabilities as well, and the company further maintained that these marketing and business strategies were their own intellectual property that was misappropriated by Apple.
Judge Agrees with Masimo and Says Six Core Claims Must Go to the Jury
However, Judge Selna did not agree with Apple and did not dismiss the remaining six claims which tend to be more specific to the technology at the core of this dispute of trade secret misappropriation. The value of these claims, according to an intellectual property expert testifying for Masimo, is $1.8 billion. Incidentally, Apple’s intellectual property expert calculates that Masimo’s remaining claims are worth only around $34.1 million.
Interestingly, Judge Selna told Apple’s attorneys that while he is dismissing six of the claims from Masimo’s lawsuit, he would not inform the jurors of his decision. Rather, he would simply remove those claims from the verdict form the jurors used to report the results of their deliberations. I would imagine that the reason the judge chose this route is that he wanted to avoid inadvertently influencing the jurors by perhaps causing them to interpret his action as negative to Masimo’s claims and positive for Apple’s defense.
Jury Has Tricky Matters to Sort Out
The jury – in this trial composed of eight women – has begun deliberations today on those remaining six claims. The jury must find: 1) Are the six trade secrets claimed by Masimo actually trade secrets; 2) If so, were they misappropriated by Apple?; and 3) If so, were they misappropriated “maliciously.” They will also determine if Masimo should rightly be listed as co-owner on five Apple patents they say is based on their technology.
The remaining Masimo claims of trade secrets specifically cover technologies related to demodulation and light propagation. Apple’s attorneys belittled the Masimo inventions (for which they hold patents) as little more than “bits and bobs” and suggested that they don’t rise to the level of true trade secrets.
Jury is Now Deliberating, Answers Could Come Soon
We’ll know soon which side of this dispute the jury agrees with…
Learn all about Masimo by visiting masimo.com.
See all that Apple offers at apple.com.
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