Apple Plans to Remove the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2

A patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo about the SpO2 sensor is at the center of everything. Apple will cease the sale of Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 after 3 PM ET on December 21st.

Apple Plans to Remove the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2
Apple Plans to Remove the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2

Apple Halts Sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Amid ITC Ban

The final day for picking up or receiving these models from Apple’s retail stores is December 24th. The company cites preemptive compliance with an ITC import ban as the reason, stemming from a patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo over its SpO2 sensor.

9to5Mac initially reported the news, and Apple subsequently confirmed it to The Verge. The ban applies solely to the flagship Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. The Apple Watch SE, lacking the SpO2 sensor, remains unaffected. Earlier models of the Apple Watch equipped with the blood oxygen sensor will also escape any impact. Notably, the ITC ban only influences sales of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 within the US; these watches will continue to be available for purchase abroad.

Unpacking Apple-Masimo Patent Disputes

The patent disputes between Apple and Masimo have been contentious in recent years, primarily concerning Masimo’s pulse oximeter. Masimo initiated two separate cases, one with the US District Court in the Central District of California and another with the ITC, alleging that Apple violated its pulse oximetry technology. This specific import ban stems from the latter case.

Apple spokesperson Nikki Rothberg, in statements provided to both 9to5Mac and The Verge, expresses strong disagreement with the order and mentions that Apple is actively pursuing various legal and technical options to ensure continued availability of the Apple Watch to customers.

At the Crossroads: ITC Ban on Apple Watches Hangs in the Balance during Presidential Review

The fate of the ITC import ban remains uncertain at the moment. It is currently in a presidential review period, and President Joe Biden holds the authority to veto the ban. While presidential vetoes are rare, Apple has experienced favorable outcomes in the past. In 2013, former President Barack Obama vetoed an ITC import ban affecting the iPhone 4 and specific iPad models.

However, Biden chose to uphold another ITC ruling that would result in an import ban for Apple Watches with the EKG feature. The presidential review period concludes on December 25th, so any potential changes will be evident by then.

If the order remains in effect, Apple intends to promptly return the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the US, states Rothberg. This would probably involve filing an appeal in the Federal Circuit.



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