Apple Watch: sales of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 resume in the United States, after the suspension of the ban

Estimated read time 3 min read

Apple Watch: sales of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 resume in the United States, after the suspension of the ban

Picture: Jason Hiner/ZDNET.

Americans can again buy Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 from Apple, following a lifting of the ban imposed this week.

As a reminder, following a dispute concerning Apple’s use of a patent for the blood oxygen sensor present on the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2, the International Trade Commission (ITC) had decided to prohibit the sales of its two models by Apple after the date of December 24.

The ITC’s decision has since been stayed by a federal appeals court. Both models are therefore back on the American showcase of the online Apple Store, and in some physical stores.

A stolen patent?

Ordered by the ITC, the ban was implemented following a patent dispute between Apple and medical technology company Masimo over the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor.

In summary, Apple is accused of having infringed a patent of the medical technology company Masimo. The two companies met about ten years ago to discuss a possible collaboration, but Masimo says today that this meeting was only intended to discover the features – and the staff – that Apple wanted to take from it. Before the launch of the Apple Watch, Apple actually hired several former Masimo employees before announcing the blood oxygen sensor today at the heart of the controversy.

Apple naturally denied the accusations, but Masimo ended up suing him in 2020. At the end of the trial, the ITC having found Apple guilty of patent infringement, it imposed a ban on the sale of the two Apple Watch models.

The ban temporarily suspended

Apple immediately filed an emergency appeal with an appeals court, asking for the suspension of the ban. The company argued that it would suffer irreparable harm if this ban was maintained, especially since the ITC indicated that it would need at least two weeks to respond to Apple’s appeal against the commission’s decision.

The lifting of the ban by a federal appeals court is only temporary, the legal dispute continues. Apple is currently looking for ways to resolve this patent dispute through a software update or a modification in the design of its watches. However, Masimo maintains that the source of the conflict is hardware and that a simple software modification would not be enough.

All changes made by Apple to the affected Apple Watch models will be reviewed before January 12 to determine if they are sufficient to solve the problem. The court of appeal is then expected to hear Apple’s petition and rule on a permanent suspension of this ban from January 15. If the court makes this decision, the ban will be suspended until the final decision of the patent trial is announced.


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