Apple can no longer sell its newest smartwatches, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2, in the U.S. after President Biden declined to veto a product ban implemented by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that cited patent infringement.
The ban, which came into effect this week, was implemented by the ITC in October to protect medtech company Masimo, which sued Apple in 2020 for allegedly poaching its employees and stealing trade secrets related to technology that uses light to measure blood oxygen levels in the Apple Watch.
President Biden had 60 days to review and rescind the ban that stopped Apple from selling its Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches. The review period lapsed on Christmas Day.
Apple has filed an appeal to lift the ban and asked for a stay until Customs and Border Protection could review its redesigned smartwatches, which do not include the technology in question, to see if they violated the medtech company’s patents.
“We strongly disagree with the USITC 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,” Apple said in a statement.
THE LARGER TREND
Apple unveiled its Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 at an event in September with new features allowing users to access and log their healthcare data and control the Watch using their index finger and thumb via blood-flow sensors.
The 2020 lawsuit filed by Masimo against the tech giant is not the only smartwatch legal battle between the companies.
In 2021, Masimo filed a separate complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission that aimed to take Apple Watches with blood oxygen sensors off the market.
In January, a judge issued a preliminary ruling that found Apple had infringed on one of Masimo’s patents.
Apple has also sued Masimo, arguing its W1 watches violate Apple’s patents and accusing Masimo of using lawsuits to remove competition from the Apple Watch.
Apple has also been fighting heart-monitoring tech company AliveCor over patent disputes. In 2022, the ITC ruled that Apple Watches with ECG functionality violate two AliveCor patents, and the Biden administration agreed to let the ruling stand.