Apple urges U.S. Court to halt Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 sales ban in the US

Recently, Apple got into trouble with Masimo, a health tech company, for patent infringements on pulse oximetry technology. This led the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to restrict imports and sales of the latest Apple Watches that use technology for reading blood oxygen levels.

Regarding the matter, the US President had 60 days, until December 25, to veto the order based on public policy concerns.

But yesterday, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai sent an official statement conveying that they’ve decided not to reverse the ITC’s decision.

On October 26, 2023, the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Apple, Inc. infringed two patents owned by Masimo Corporation and Cercacor Laboratories, Inc, both based in the United States. Since 2005, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has been delegated the President’s authority under Section 337 of the Trade Act of 1930 to review the ITC’s decision for a 60-day period. After careful consultations, Ambassador Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s determination and the ITC’s decision became final on December 26, 2023.

Now, Apple has filed an emergency request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to halt the ban. Apple ensures that it’s taking all measures to overcome the patent infringement, and a company spokesperson told Reuters that:

We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.

Apple is looking for a way out and has asked to pause the ban at least until U.S. Customs and Border Protection decides whether redesigned versions of its watches infringe Masimo’s patents and to put the ban on hold while the court considers Apple’s request. The customs office is due to make its decision on January 12.

Due to the ban, Apple halted the sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 through its official channels. Yet, these models can still be purchased via retailers like Amazon and Best Buy in the US, which still have old stocks.

It is said that Apple is looking to overcome the issue with a software fix, but Masimo believes that its patents cover hardware and that a software fix would not work. We are hoping for a settlement between Apple and Masimo soon.