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Temporary Reprieve for Apple as US Court Suspends Sales Ban on Apple Watch

Following a legal issue involving patent violations, Apple has resumed the sales of its latest Apple Watch models, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, in the United States. The halt in sales was initiated after the US International Trade Commission (ITC) determined that Apple had violated patents held by Masimo, a medical device maker. The specific patents in question relate to a blood oxygen saturation sensor, a feature incorporated into Apple’s flagship watches since late 2020. Apple temporarily suspended the sales of the affected models in anticipation of the ban, which was initially set to take effect on December 26th.

The decision to resume sales comes after a federal appeals court temporarily suspended the ban on these Apple Watch models. The court’s intervention allows Apple to continue selling its watches while awaiting a ruling on proposed modifications aimed at addressing the alleged patent infringement issues. Physical stores in the US have already resumed sales, with a broader rollout expected by Saturday. Online sales are also slated to recommence shortly, as reported by The Verge.

The court’s temporary suspension of the ban provides a reprieve for Apple, enabling the company to navigate the legal landscape and make necessary modifications to its watches. The court is set to determine whether Apple’s proposed changes adequately resolve the patent infringement concerns. A final decision by the US Customs and Border Protection on these modifications is anticipated on January 12th. Concurrently, the court is considering the possibility of extending the pause on the ban until a final ruling on the patent dispute is reached. This extension, if granted, could further delay any potential sales restrictions by several months.



Apple Watch Ban: Temporary relief for Apple as US court halts sales ban - BusinessToday
Apple Watch Ban: Temporary relief for Apple as US court halts sales ban

Throughout the ban period, third-party retailers were still able to sell their existing stock of Apple Watches. However, the import ban would have eventually hindered their ability to restock. It’s worth noting that the Apple Watch SE, a less expensive model that lacks the contentious blood oxygen sensor, remained available and unaffected by the sales restriction.

The legal dispute revolves around the ITC’s findings that Apple infringed on Masimo’s patents related to the blood oxygen saturation sensor. This sensor is a crucial component of the health monitoring features in Apple’s smartwatches. The court’s intervention and the ongoing legal proceedings highlight the complexities of intellectual property disputes in the tech industry and the significant impact they can have on product sales and availability.

As Apple navigates the legal challenges, the outcome of the proposed modifications and the final ruling on the patent dispute will shape the future of Apple Watch sales in the US. The company’s ability to address the alleged patent infringement issues and satisfy regulatory requirements will determine whether the sales suspension remains temporary or becomes a more protracted restriction. This case also underscores the broader implications of intellectual property disputes in the rapidly evolving landscape of wearable technology.

In summary, the temporary relief granted by the federal appeals court allows Apple to resume sales of its latest Apple Watch models in the US, offering the company an opportunity to address and rectify the alleged patent infringement issues. The legal proceedings and potential modifications will play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of Apple Watch sales and the resolution of the ongoing dispute with Masimo.

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