Apple is set to remove the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 from its stores in the US this week, adhering to a ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) in response to a patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo.
The ITC ruling is related to a patent dispute over Apple’s use of Masimo’s technology in the SpO2 (blood oxygen) sensor, a key feature in the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2.
According to the ITC ruling, Apple is prohibited from selling the two watches on its website after 3 pm ET on December 21 and in physical stores from December 24.
Apple Response and Legal Options:
Apple spokesperson Nikki Rothberg expressed Apple’s strong disagreement with the ITC order and stated that the company is actively exploring legal and technical avenues to challenge the ban and retain the devices in its product lineup.
Rothberg said that Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of US consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple. He also said that while today’s decision has no immediate impact on sales of Apple Watch, the company believes it should be reversed and will continue its efforts to appeal.
Apple may appeal the ITC’s ruling via the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit after the 60-day review period ends. The company could also change the Apple Watch or try to reach a settlement with Masimo to avoid a ban.
President Biden Role:
Masimo initiated legal action against Apple by filing two cases, one with the US District Court and another with the ITC, leading to the ban on the sale of specific Apple Watch models. Masimo accuses Apple of having illegally poached Masimo employees and stole trade secrets when developing the Apple Watch.
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The company is seeking over $1.8 billion in damages and co-ownership of five Apple pulse oximetry patents that Masimo says use its technology. The decision to uphold or veto the ban now rests with US President Joe Biden. The president has the authority to determine whether the ban will be enforced or overturned, adding a layer of complexity to the situation.
While President Barack Obama vetoed an ITC import ban on the iPhone 4 in 2013, President Biden has previously upheld an ITC ruling against the Apple Watch over the EKG feature.
Impact on Consumers and Markets:
Existing users of the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 will not be affected by the ban. Devices sold prior to the specified timeline will continue to function without any issues and will receive full technical support. The ban only applies to Apple’s own stores, and units currently in stock with Apple partners like BestBuy and Amazon are not affected.
However, Apple won’t be able to supply additional units after December 25. The ITC ruling exclusively pertains to the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in the US, with no impact on previous Apple Watch models or models sold outside the United States. The ban could affect Apple’s market share and revenue in the US, as well as its reputation and customer satisfaction.
Source: via | Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 ban