Biometric specialist Valencell – whose technology is licensed by iRiver, LG, Sony and others – has filed a lawsuit accusing Apple of using underhand tactics to gain access to its patented technology for use in the Apple Watch.

The company claims that Apple violated three of its patents for improving the accuracy and reliability of heart-rate data when using the photoplethysmography (PPG) approach used in the Apple Watch. But the lawsuit alleges more than just patent infringement, reports AI: it also claims that Apple used deceptive techniques to get access to the technology …

Specifically, it suggests that Apple feigned interest in a partnership agreement with Valencell, and that IP addresses belonging to Apple were used to download white papers using fake contact details.

 Apple […] obtained such white papers by providing fictitious information. On March 27, 2013 and May 5, 2014, one or more Apple agents downloaded the “PerformTek Precision Biometrics: Engaging the Burgeoning Mobile Health and Fitness Market” white paper from Valencell using fictitious names. On March 10, 2014 and April 23, 2015, one or more Apple agents downloaded the “Earbud-Based Sensor for the Assessment of Energy Expenditure, Heart Rate, and VO2 max” white paper from Valencell using fictitious names. On April 1, 2015 an Apple agent downloaded the “Earbud-Based Sensor for the Assessment of Energy Expenditure, Heart Rate, and VO2 max” white paper from Valencell using a fictitious

It alleges that seven Apple employees did this. The lawsuit names these individuals, and says that all seven not only worked on the Apple Watch, but were specifically involved in development of the heart-rate sensor.

A separate lawsuit makes similar allegations against Fitbit for technology used in the Charge HR and Surge.

In the run-up to the launch of the Watch, Apple focused attention on the advanced heart-rate monitoring capabilities of the device, whose accuracy has been found to rival dedicated monitors. The company adjusted the behaviour of the heart-rate monitor in watchOS 1.0.1.

We have invited Apple to comment on the allegations and will update with any response received.