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US Appeals Court Temporarily Halts Apple Watch Ban, Allowing Resumption of Sales

US Appeals Court Temporarily Halts Apple Watch Ban, Allowing Resumption of Sales

Following a patent dispute over medical monitoring technology with Irvine-based Masimo, Apple faced an import ban on its flagship smartwatches, notably impacting their blood-oxygen level reading feature. However, a US appeals court granted a temporary pause on the ban, allowing Apple to resume sales for now.

The court’s decision offers a reprieve for Apple as it navigates the legal battle with Masimo. The import ban, if upheld, could lead to substantial financial repercussions for both companies or prompt a settlement. Despite potential financial implications, analysts suggest that the negative publicity surrounding the lawsuit might overshadow any monetary setbacks for Apple.

Apple promptly announced the availability of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, including the blood oxygen feature, for purchase in the US through its stores and online platforms.

Masimo chose not to comment on the court’s ruling, maintaining silence on the matter.

The dispute centers on accusations from Masimo that Apple incorporated its pulse oximetry technology into the Apple Watches by hiring its employees. In response, Apple countersued, labeling Masimo’s actions as a strategy to clear a path for its competing smartwatch.

While acknowledging the lawsuit’s impact on Apple’s future health-wearable products, experts emphasize that the bigger issue lies in the negative public perception regarding technology appropriation rather than the specific blood oxygen monitoring software.

The appeals court’s ruling, spanning a concise four paragraphs, temporarily halts the ban as it reviews Apple’s plea for an extended pause during the appeals process. The court has given the International Trade Commission (ITC) until January 10 to respond to Apple’s request.

Apple has indicated its active pursuit of legal and technical solutions to address the issue, including the potential development of redesigned versions that comply with patent regulations.

Amidst the legal tussle, Apple ceased sales of affected devices on its official channels but maintained availability through various retailers. Notably, the ban did not affect certain models lacking the contentious pulse oximeter feature.

As the legal battle unfolds, Apple’s wearables, home, and accessory business, encompassing products like the Apple Watch and AirPods, remains a significant revenue stream for the company, recording billions in revenue in the third quarter of 2023, according to company reports.


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