According to foreign media reports, an important new feature added by Apple Watch OS 3, Emergency SOS, was actually stolen from Zomm, a former Apple supplier. In a new lawsuit discovered by Patent Apple, Zomm said the company developed and patented SOS capabilities. The feature allows users to make local emergency calls by pressing buttons on remote devices, but Apple used the technology in Apple Watch without permission after "intentionally approaching Zomm to steal company technology."
The accusation of Zomm also includes a series of details that Apple Watch old users may be familiar with. The obscure company said it was eyeed by Apple after it successfully launched its own Wireless Leash, a Bluetooth calibrator designed to help users avoid losing their smartphones, at the 2010 CES conference. Apple contacted Zomm for an exclusive iPhone version of the attachment in the Apple Store, and Zomm agreed.
After signing a confidentiality agreement with Apple, Zomm began researching Wireless Leash Plus for the iPhone, telling Apple it was considering other wearable forms such as watches, bracelets and so on. The company also mentions a patent-pending feature that allows users to make automatic local emergency calls from anywhere in the world without using a mobile phone after three seconds of pressing the Wireless Leash button.
Zomm said the company made very little revenue, despite good sales, due to adverse terms with Apple. A few months after the company first unveiled its emergency dial-up product, Lifestyle Connect, at the 2012 CES conference, Apple terminated its wireless Leash Plus sales agreement at retail stores. But Apple began ordering a large number of devices for Apple's senior leaders, developers and scientists. Zomm said the company contacted Apple executives to inform them that they had patented the emergency service and asked if the two companies could continue to cooperate, but no response was received.
In June 2016, Apple revealed that it would add a new "SOS" feature to watchOS 3, including the same features described in Zomm's patent. Zomm points out that the feature is not called "Emergency 011" because, like Zomm's patents, it identifies the local emergency service phone number that confirms the user's country before dialing.
Zomm claims damages for patent infringement and unfair competition, as well as injunction relief and compensation for lawyer's fees. The lawsuit was first brought to the Southern District Court of New York, and then transferred to California San Francisco North District Court for rehearing. (wood)
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