The US International Trade Commission has started investigating a patent infringement complaint that Philips filed against Fitbit, Garmin and three more wearables companies. Philips asks for these companies’ health monitoring devices to be tariffed or banned from being imported into the US.
The patents involved, four in total, appear to mostly concern the algorithms behind monitoring physical or physiological parameters. One of the mentioned patents, for example, is about energy-efficient activity monitoring using accelerometers. This function is present on most health-related wearables. Another patent is about non-invasively measuring oxygen saturation of the blood (pulse oximetry). Garmin has devices on offer featuring this function, and Fitbit is beta-testing them.
A Philips spokesperson told The Verge that the company has been attempting to hammer out licensing agreements for three years, but that negotiations have broken down.