An Import Ban on Apple Watch is now in Effect, and the Company has Filed an Appeal

On Tuesday, Apple appealed a decision to ban the import of Apple Watches following a complaint from Masimo, a medical monitoring technology company.

An Import Ban on Apple Watch is now in Effect, and the Company has Filed an Appeal
An Import Ban on Apple Watch is now in Effect, and the Company has Filed an Appeal

The U.S. International Trade Commission’s order, set to take effect on Dec. 26, prohibits the import and sale of Apple Watches incorporating patent-infringing technology for blood-oxygen level readings.

Apple Watch Faces Import Ban, Appeal Filed

This move comes after the Biden administration opted not to veto the government tribunal’s decision. The affected feature, a pulse oximeter, was introduced by Apple in its Series 6 model in 2020.

After careful consultations, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai chose not to overturn the ban. The decision by the International Trade Commission (ITC) became final on Dec. 26, as confirmed by the Trade Representative’s office on Tuesday.

Apple expressed strong disagreement with the USITC decision and the resulting exclusion order in a statement on Tuesday. The company stated it is actively taking measures to promptly return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S.

Apple Appeals Ban, Masimo Response Awaited, Analysts Predict Prolonged Verdict

A spokesperson from Apple confirmed that the company appealed the ban to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington. Last week, the ITC declined Apple’s request to suspend the ban while the appeal is ongoing.

On Tuesday, representatives for Masimo did not provide an immediate response to a request for comment.

Analysts at Stifel stated in a note that their litigation expert anticipated a potential Apple appeal could prolong the ‘final’ ITC case verdict by roughly another year.

Since last week, Apple stopped selling its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the United States. However, these watches are still accessible through other retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart as of Tuesday.

Masimo’s Allegations Lead to Mistrial and Counterclaims

The ban does not impact the sale of the less expensive Apple Watch SE, which will continue to be available. Watches sold before the ban will also remain unaffected.

Masimo alleges that Apple recruited its employees, took its pulse oximetry technology, and integrated it into the widely popular Apple Watch.

A California federal court declared a mistrial in May for the jury trial regarding Masimo’s allegations. Apple, in a separate legal action, has sued Masimo for patent infringement in a federal court in Delaware, describing Masimo’s legal actions as a strategic move to pave the way for its own competing smartwatch.

Reflecting on 2013 and Apple’s Recent Legal and Business Changes

Since 2013, no presidential administration has vetoed an ITC ruling. The last instance was in the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung when President Barack Obama’s administration overturned an import ban on Apple’s iPhones and iPads.

In February, the Biden administration decided not to veto a distinct import ban on Apple Watches, arising from a patent-infringement complaint by medical technology company AliveCor. The ITC has temporarily suspended the ban for other considerations.

According to a company report, Apple’s wearables, home, and accessory business, encompassing the Apple Watch, AirPods earbuds, and other products, generated $8.28 billion in revenue during the third quarter of 2023.

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