Apple Files Appeal, Amid US Ban On Apple Watch Sales

Apple has filed an emergency motion so it can restart sales of two of its most popular Apple Watch models again, amid a patent dispute sales ban in the US.

Apple had said last week it would temporarily halt sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the US, in order to comply with a legal order.

This all stems from a patent dispute with medical technology company Masimo over blood oxygen monitor technology.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 is carbon neutral when paired with a new Trail Loop (pictured) or Alpine Loop.
Image credit Apple

Patent dispute

Apple last week had told Silicon UK that the company was “preemptively taking steps to comply” with the order, including pausing sales of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 from the Apple online store beginning Thursday, 21 December, and from Apple retail locations after Sunday 24 December.

However Apple will still sell older models, that do not include the disputed blood oxygen Sp02 sensor that is at the centre of the dispute with Masimo.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) in October had ordered Apple to stop selling the Apple Watch models, which were introduced alongside the latest iPhone 15 range in September, after finding the Apple Watches violated patents held by Masimo.

The order is subject to a 60-day presidential review period, expiring on 25 December, during which the Biden administration could have decided whether or not to veto it.

Apple had made a motion to the ITC to temporarily halt the order while the case is under appeal, or in light of a potential government shutdown.

But the ITC rejected Apple’s motion last week.

And then in another blow to Apple and CEO Tim Cook, the White House declined to overturn the sales ban and imports of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 Apple Watches.

It should be remembered that Apple had benefited from the last one in 2013 when Barack Obama vetoed an ITC ruling blocking the import of iPhone 4 and certain iPad models in a dispute with Samsung Electronics.

Apple appeal

Now Reuters has reported that Apple has on Tuesday filed an emergency request to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to halt the ban.

Apple reportedly asked the Federal Circuit to pause the ban at least until US 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 12 January 2024, Apple reportedly said.

“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 US as soon as possible,” Apple was quoted as saying in a statement on Tuesday.

A Masimo spokesperson meanwhile reportedly called the ITC decision “a win for the integrity of the US patent system, and ultimately American consumers.”

The ban does not affect Apple Watch SE, a less-expensive model, which will continue to be sold. Previously sold watches will not be affected by the ban.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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