Apple To Halt Apple Watch Sales: Bold Step

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Apple To Halt Apple Watch Sales

In a surprising move, Apple has announced its decision to halt sales of specific Apple Watch models this week, responding to an ongoing legal battle with Masimo Corp. The announcement comes even before the White House has made a decision on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s October ruling, which imposed a ban on Apple Watch imports.

Preemptive Compliance: Apple’s Strategic Move

Apple, in a statement released on Monday, declared its intention to cease sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. These models, allegedly infringing Masimo Corp. patents related to blood oxygen level measurement, will be removed from Apple’s website after 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. Apple retail stores will no longer carry these products after the close of business on Dec. 24.

Apple To Halt Apple Watch Sales: Apple’s Strong Disagreement

Expressing strong disagreement with the infringement order, Apple is actively pursuing various legal and technical avenues to ensure the availability of Apple Watch to its customers. The company is urging the President to veto the ITC’s decision and plans to appeal to the Federal Circuit if necessary.

Countdown to Ban: Import Ban Looms on Dec. 26

The import ban, scheduled for Dec. 26 if the White House upholds the decision, has prompted Apple to promise continued efforts to return the affected Apple Watch models to U.S. customers promptly.

Apple To Halt Apple Watch Sales : Upholding Legal Processes

Masimo, a medical device company, issued a statement on Monday, emphasizing the significance of respecting the legal process. According to Masimo, the ITC’s decision reflects the importance of protecting intellectual property rights and maintaining public trust in the U.S. patent system.

Global Impact: Limited Impact on Existing Apple Watches

Apple clarified that the legal dispute will not affect previously purchased Apple Watches with the blood oxygen feature. The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will remain available outside the U.S., while the lower-priced Apple Watch SE, without the contested feature, will continue to be sold in the U.S.

Apple To Halt Apple Watch Sales: White House Rarely Intervenes

While it’s uncommon for the White House to overturn an ITC decision, the last instance occurred in 2013, involving a patent case with Apple. The Obama administration vetoed an exclusion order that would have banned imports of Apple’s iPhones and iPads found to infringe a Samsung patent.

Roots of the Dispute: Masimo’s Allegations and Apple’s Defense

Masimo’s infringement suit, initiated in 2020, alleged that Apple incorporated its health technology into its products after meetings in 2013. Apple countered by challenging Masimo’s patents, leading to a complex legal battle involving multiple patents and trade secrets.

Ongoing Legal Saga: A Glimpse into the Future

The legal wrangling extends beyond the ITC case, with a mistrial in a California court in May 2023. Masimo sought $1.85 billion in damages, and a retrial is tentatively scheduled for October 2024. Apple has also retaliated with a suit in Delaware, accusing Masimo’s W1 watch of infringing Apple design patents.