A Watch City inventor yesterday sued Apple, Inc., alleging a clasp it uses on some of its Apple Watch watch bands violates a patent he won in 2017 for using a combination of mechanical and magnetic parts to keep two things connected, for example, watch wrist bands.
In a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Boston, Samuel David Provencher's Boston Inventions, LLC alleges that Apple's Apple Watch Leather Link and the Fine Woven Magnetic Link lifts the ideas he used in his patent for combining a traditional clasping mechanism with small magnets aimed at creating a stronger, yet still easy to unclasp, bond for "removable fastening systems designed for repetitive use which are often found in clothing or other applications involving the fastening of one thing to another."
According to the complaint, Boston Innovations informed Apple of the violation last June - and offered to license or even sell the patent to Apple. But the complaint continues, Apple replied nope, its offerings do not violate the patent in part because the patent specifies an "an angled interference surface" on the two parts of its clasp, while the connectors in the Apple watch bands are round.
Further, the rounded surfaces do not provide any resistance to shear force as suggested by the specification and thus cannot function in the same way as claimed.
Also, Apple's corporate counsel continued in his reply, if you want to play the patent game, Apple has its own patent for a "Wearable Band Including Magnet" that predates Boston Innovations by two years.
In the complaint, Boston Innovation decries the way "Defendant feigns ignorance and sets forth dubious assertions related to non-infringement and invalidity of the ‘712 Patent, and then simply states that it does not require a license to continue blatantly infringing Plaintiff’s patent." And so:
Despite having knowledge of Plaintiff’s patent and its own infringement, Defendant continues to intentionally and willfully sell the Accused Product into the stream of commerce with specific intent.
As a consequence of this and Defendant’s other infringing activities as complained herein, Plaintiff has suffered monetary damages, and Plaintiff will continue to suffer such damages in the future unless and until Defendant’s infringing activities are enjoined by this Court.
Provencher seeks a court declaration that Apple is a patent infringer, that it be ordered to knock it off and that Apple be ordered to pay suitably high damages, times three, plus royalties on all the watch bands that use the technique that Apple has sold, plus attorneys' fees.
Entire complaint (382k PDF).
Apple's response to infringement claim (3.8M PDF).