Apple Faces Sales Halt for Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in the US Amid Patent Dispute

In a significant development, Apple is set to cease sales of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in the United States, following a ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding a patent dispute with medical technology company Masimo. The dispute centers around Masimo’s claim that Apple’s blood oxygen sensor technology infringes on several of its patents.

The ITC ruling has initiated a 60-day Presidential Review Period, slated to conclude on December 25. During this period, there are reports of Apple actively working on a software fix to modify how the affected watches measure blood oxygen levels, potentially circumventing a sales ban. This move aligns with Apple’s commitment to addressing the concerns raised by the ITC.

Apple, in a statement to 9to5Mac, confirmed that sales of the Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 will be halted on its US website after 3 pm ET on Thursday, December 21, with in-store inventory from Apple retail locations becoming unavailable after December 24. However, it’s important to note that the ITC ruling specifically prohibits Apple from selling these products directly, leaving room for availability through third-party channels such as Amazon and Best Buy.

To counter the impending ban, Apple is reportedly exploring changes to the algorithms and software used in the affected models for blood oxygen monitoring. This strategic move, as reported by Bloomberg, aims to redefine how the technology determines oxygen saturation and presents data to customers.

The roots of this legal battle trace back to January, when an ITC judge ruled that Apple had violated one of five Masimo patents related to the use of light sensors for measuring blood oxygen levels. Apple contested the decision, seeking a full review by the Commission. In October, the ITC issued an order that could prevent Apple from importing the contested Apple Watches, potentially resulting in a sales ban.

The 60-day Presidential Review Period provides an opportunity for intervention by President Joe Biden, who has not taken any action on the matter thus far. With the review period set to expire on December 25, the ban on sales for the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 will come into effect if not reversed.

Apple has emphasized that their preemptive announcement aims to align with the ITC ruling. If the ban is enforced, it will exclusively impact the sale of Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 models, as these are the specific models equipped with the contentious blood oxygen sensors. Lower-end models, such as the Apple Watch SE, will remain unaffected by the sales restriction.

Sachin Gill
Sachin Gill

Expert in Tech, Smartphone, Gadgets. It Works on the latest tech news in the world.

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