Sales of Apple Watch 9 and Ultra 2 Resume as Court Pauses Ban

Sales of Apple Watch 9 and Ultra 2 Resume as Court Pauses Ban

Lifting of Apple Watch Sales Ban

If you’re in the market for an Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2, you’re in luck. Following a patent dispute concerning the blood oxygen sensor used by these devices, the International Trade Commission (ITC) had previously halted the sales and imports of these models. However, a federal appeals court has now suspended this ruling.

Resumption of Apple Watch Sales

With the ban lifted, Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 are once again available for purchase at select Apple Stores, with wider availability expected by the upcoming Saturday. Nikki Rothberg, an Apple spokesperson, announced that Apple’s online store is set to resume sales by Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

Statement from Apple Spokesperson

Rothberg expressed satisfaction in a statement, highlighting the extensive efforts by Apple’s teams over the years to create technology laden with industry-leading health, wellness, and safety features. She conveyed the company’s pleasure at the stay placed by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on the ITC’s exclusion order while Apple’s appeal is pending.

Background of the Patent Dispute

The ban by the ITC was initiated due to a patent conflict with the medical technology firm Masimo over the use of a blood oxygen sensor in Apple Watches. Masimo accused Apple of patent infringement, alleging that the tech giant used insights from a meeting that had taken place ten years prior, under the guise of potential collaboration, to further its own product development. Additionally, Masimo criticized Apple for recruiting several of its staff before launching the initial Apple Watch. Apple has steadfastly denied these allegations and retaliated with a patent infringement countersuit against Masimo in 2020. After a judge found that Apple violated the patent, the ITC implemented the ban on the two latest Apple Watch models.

Scope and Impact of the Ban

The sales ban targeted only the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models sold directly by Apple, allowing third-party retailers like Best Buy and Amazon to continue offering the devices. The banned models were specifically those featuring blood oxygen monitoring, leaving other versions like the Apple Watch SE unaffected for sale. The import restrictions also prevented Apple from supplying these models to retailers.

Apple’s Legal Response to the Ban

Apple lodged an emergency appeal with the US Court of Appeals seeking a suspension of the ban. The company argued that the prohibition would cause significant and irreparable harm, emphasizing the urgency due to the ITC’s indication that it would take a minimum of two weeks to address the appeal against its decision.

Temporary Reprieve and Future Proceedings

The current lift of the ban provides a temporary respite while the legal proceedings continue. Apple has been exploring avenues to rectify any patent infringements, potentially through a software update or a redesign of the affected watches. However, Masimo has insisted that the issue lies within the hardware, suggesting a software solution would be insufficient. The next step involves the US Customs and Border Protection reviewing Apple’s adjustments to the watches on January 12 to assess if they address the issue. Shortly thereafter, on January 15, the US appeals court is set to deliberate on Apple’s motion for a permanent stay of the ban. This could mean the continuation of the suspension until a conclusive court decision emerges regarding the patent dispute
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