Tech giant Apple has had to put the brakes on sales of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States, due to an ongoing legal battle with Masimo. Indeed, Apple disagrees with the decision of the International Trade Commission (ITC) and plans to take measures to restore the sale of these products. Find out the details of this case and what it means for customers and resellers of the famous Apple Watch.
How does Apple plan to react to the ban?
According to Apple’s statements, the company Tim Cook plans to take necessary measures to relist affected devices: “Apple teams work tirelessly to create products and services that provide users with industry-leading health, wellness and security features. Apple disagrees with the order and is pursuing a series of legal and technical options to ensure that the Apple Watch is available to customers. If the order is upheld, Apple will continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the United States as quickly as possible“. The question remains whether this means Apple will remove the pulse oximeter feature from the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2.
It’s possible the company could use a watchOS patch to disable the disputed features on units not yet sold. However, this remains to be confirmed and is currently speculation.
What about other e-commerce platforms and resellers?
Although Apple must stop the sale of these models due to the ITC’s decision, this does not prevent other online platforms and resellers from continuing to sell these products. However, the situation could change if Apple is forced to permanently stop the importation of the affected devices. It is important to note that Apple will continue to market the Watch SE 2, which is not included in the litigation due to the lack of the pulse oximeter feature and, therefore, is not affected by Masimo’s patent infringement complaint.
The tumultuous relationship between Apple and Masimo began as a collaboration, before Apple considered acquiring the medical technology company. Apple has finally decided to poach several engineers from Masimo and to use the pulse oximeter technology developed by this company without authorization. Following this, Apple was sued by Masimo and responded with a counter-complaint alleging that Masimo had infringed Apple Watch patents to create its own smartwatch.
What consequences for Apple and its waiting customers?
If President Joe Biden does not block the ban on imports of the Apple Watch into the United States, it could represent a real headache for Apple. Remember that the ITC had already banned the importation of the Apple Watch due to a violation of AliveCor patents, a decision confirmed by the White House. However, Apple had escaped the ban thanks to the intervention of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which declared the three affected AliveCor patents invalid.
Although AliveCor appealed the decision, Apple was able to continue selling its smartwatches. However, this time the situation seems much more complicated for the Cupertino company, which will face significant challenges to restore the sale of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States.