Apple Watch import ban in place: Here’s what to know as newer watch sales stop

Innovation

Imports and U.S. sales of some Apple Watches were officially banned Tuesday, as an October ruling finding the watches’ blood oxygen detection technology infringed on another company’s patent took effect—and the Biden administration declined to reverse the decision.
Apple Watch Sales Suspension

FILE – The Apple logo is illuminated at a store in the city center of Munich, Germany, Dec. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Key Facts

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in October that Apple had infringed on tech company Masimo’s patent and issued an order banning all sales and imports of watches containing the technology in question, but the Biden Administration had 60 days to decide whether it would veto the decision—an unusual move.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced Tuesday “after careful consultations,” it would not reverse the decision, allowing it to take effect.

The ruling bars the U.S. sale of any Apple Watches that contain the alleged patent-infringing technology, which the tech company began installing in the 2020 Apple Watch Series 6 and included in the latest Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2.

Apple preemptively pulled the Series 9 and Ultra 2 from shelves last week, though the watch is still listed on several online retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy.

Watches that don’t have the blood monitoring technology, including the new Apple Watch SE, are unaffected.

Apple says there is no impact to service for U.S. customers who purchased Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 prior to the ban taking effect.

Contra

Apple appealed the decision with a D.C. appellate court on Tuesday, and asked the court to put the International Trade Commission’s decision on hold while the legal process goes forward. The Commission last week rejected Apple’s request to pause the ban while the appeal was heard. The company says it’s also submitted a proposed redesign of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 for U.S. customs approval. Apple maintains it did not use any Masimo technology in its blood oxygen technology. In a statement to Forbes, Apple said “We strongly disagree with the (Commission’s) 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 U.S. as soon as possible.”

Key Background

The ban comes amid a legal dispute with Masimo over the blood oxygen technology. Masimo, a California-based medical technology company, claims Apple took employees, stole trade secrets and infringed on its patent related to its pulse oximetry technology, which Apple has denied. Masimo’s civil lawsuit against Apple ended in a mistrial earlier this year. Apple has also filed two patent infringement lawsuits against Masimo, claiming the company copied Apple technology and is now seeking to push Apple’s watches out of the market to make room for its own. Masimo has called those lawsuits “retaliatory.” In October, following a complaint from Masimo, the International Trade Commission made its ruling that the Apple Watch blood oxygen technology infringed on the Masimo patent. The Biden administration had 60 days to review the decision, but a reversal was always unlikely—no presidential administration has reversed a Commission decision since the Obama administration in 2013.

Big Number

$8.28 billion. That’s how much revenue Apple’s wearables, home and accessory business brought in in the third quarter of 2023.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

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