Apple Watch Ban Temporarily Paused by the US Appeals Court

Great news for Apple enthusiasts! An appeals court has temporarily suspended the government’s import ban on the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, following an emergency filing by Cupertino tech giant to the US Court of Appeals.

The tech giant based in Cupertino urgently filed with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to pause an order from the International Trade Commission (ITC). This order had found Apple in violation of patents belonging to medical technology firm Masimo.

“Exciting news for our customers as we reintroduce the complete Apple Watch lineup just in time for the new year,” Apple announced in an official statement. “Both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, featuring the blood oxygen feature, will be back on shelves for purchase in the United States.” These flagship watches are once again available for immediate purchase at Apple Stores starting today and will be accessible via Apple’s website tomorrow by 12:00 PM PT.

Though the pause in the order is a positive development for Apple, it’s anticipated to be temporary, likely lasting until mid-January, strategically timed to support the company through the holiday season.

Apple vs Masimo: A Recap of the Conflict

In October 2023, the US ITC made a ruling stating that Apple had infringed upon Masimo’s patents pertaining to blood oxygen monitoring. Masimo alleged that the technology employed in Apple’s recent smartwatches, starting from Watch Series 6, for measuring blood oxygen levels was founded on their patented technology.

Despite Apple’s disagreement with these claims, the ITC determined that the company had indeed violated two of Masimo’s patents. As a consequence, an import and sale ban was imposed on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.

The sales and import embargo took effect on December 21, compelling Apple to withdraw its latest Apple Watch models from all official sales channels, both online and offline. The removal of listings for the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 began on December 21 from the online store, followed by the elimination of these models from physical stores on December 24.

Despite Apple’s exhaustive efforts to avert the ban, the definitive outcome was sealed when President Joe Biden’s administration declined to veto the ban earlier this week. This decision solidified the ban on the Apple Watch models equipped with the blood oxygen sensor, making it an official restriction.

The decision to restart Apple Watch sales undoubtedly brings relief to Apple, particularly during the holiday season. It also provides the company with a chance to progress through the legal proceedings and potentially seek a comprehensive resolution.

We anticipate Apple will escalate the distribution of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 to third-party sellers in the US. This move reflects a cautious approach, considering the possibility that their planned software fix might not receive approval. What’s your take on this ongoing dispute?

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