Can Philips Lean on Nightbalance?

In 2018, Philips acquired Nightbalance, a Dutch digital health company that had developed a device for correcting sleep posture to mitigate sleep apnea. The device is a band worn around the chest that vibrates to alert the wearer in response to certain events, such as a change in position or heart rate. Sleep position is relevant not just for sleep apnea but also general quality of sleep. At the time of acquisition, Nightbalance had two issued patents and four pending applications. In the years since the deal, Philips has continued prosecution with national stage entries of Nightbalance’s PCT filings, including an application for a heart rate measurement band that was published in September 2021. 


Philips currently markets Nightbalance as an alternative to CPAP machines, which could end up being very necessary for the company’s success in the sleep health market. In June 2021, the FDA issued a recall for a number of Philips’ respirators due to harmful foam particulates coming loose from the mask. Philips’ stock dropped more than 4% immediately following the announcement, and consumer confidence will likely be affected in the long term. A non-respiratory sleep apnea device that is also useful for general consumers may be a more attractive option. The Nightbalance family only includes one pending application, with the rest of the filings having been granted. A look at the patent data shows that Philips is also interested in non-contact sleep posture detection, which is an area that is being explored by Google and Amazon. Posture detection is a small field thus far, and Philips has the opportunity to dominate this market if it expands its existing portfolio. Keep up with how the company proceeds with Patent Forecast®.