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Updated December 26th, 2023 at 20:21 IST

Apple appeals against import ban on Apple Watches following USITC decision

The ban, effective December 26, stems from the use of patent-infringing technology for blood-oxygen-level monitoring in Apple Watches.

Business Desk
Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Sales Halted in the US Amid Patent Dispute with Masimo
Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Sales Halted in the US Amid Patent Dispute with Masimo | Image:Apple Watch Series 9, Masimo W1
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Apple is pushing back against the US International Trade Commission's (ITC) decision to ban imports of certain Apple Watches, following a complaint from medical monitoring technology company Masimo. The ban, effective December 26, stems from the use of patent-infringing technology for blood-oxygen-level monitoring in Apple Watches, a feature introduced in its Series 6 model in 2020.

Despite Apple's appeal, the Joe Biden administration chose not to reverse the ban after thorough consultations, solidifying the ITC's decision. The ban specifically targets Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, both of which incorporate the contested pulse oximeter technology.

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In response to the ban, Apple temporarily halted sales of the affected smartwatches in the United States last week. However, the watches remain available through other retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. Notably, the ban does not impact the Apple Watch SE, a more affordable model, which will continue to be sold. The watches that were previously sold are also exempt from the ban.

Apple expressed strong disagreement with the USITC decision, emphasising its commitment to returning the affected Apple Watch models to US customers promptly. The company has appealed the ban to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington. However, the ITC denied Apple's request to pause the ban during the appeal process.

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Masimo, the complainant, alleges that Apple hired away its employees, misappropriated its pulse oximetry technology, and integrated it into the popular Apple Watch. A jury trial on Masimo's allegations in a California federal court ended in a mistrial in May. In a countermove, Apple has sued Masimo for patent infringement in federal court in Delaware, characterising Masimo's legal actions as a strategic maneuver.

This marks the latest chapter in the legal tussle between the two companies, with Masimo aiming to protect its technology, and Apple defending its position in the competitive smartwatch market. The ITC's ruling, unaffected by a presidential veto since 2013, highlights the gravity of intellectual property disputes within the tech industry. Apple's wearables, home, and accessory business, which includes the Apple Watch, generated $8.28 billion in revenue during the third quarter of 2023, according to the company's report.

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(With Reuters inputs.)

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Published December 26th, 2023 at 16:46 IST

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