Apple Can Sell Redesigned Watches Despite Import Ban

Published 5 months ago
By Forbes | Ana Faguy
Apple iPhone 15 And Apple Watch Series 9 Launches In Australia
(Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)


Apple will be allowed to sell a redesigned version of some of its smartwatches, after successfully arguing that some models do not contain a contested blood-oxygen detection technology, a court filing revealed Monday, in an effort to overcome a recent ban implemented by the U.S. International Trade Commission last month on certain Apple watch models because of an ongoing patent infringement case.


Apple can sell watches, including the Series 9 and Ultra 2, that do not include a pulse oximeter function—a way to measure the oxygen level of blood— California-based company Masimo Corp. said in a court filing Monday after suing Apple for patent infringement.

The decision was made Friday by the enforcement branch of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection but wasn’t known publicly until Monday when Joseph R. Re, an attorney for Masimo, wrote to the U.S. Court of Appeals informing the court that Apple had been told the redesign falls outside the scope of the initial decision.


Re said in the filing the government had no objection to Apple importing Apple Watches if they did not contain the blood-oxygen detection technology, which is at the heart of their patent infringement suit.

Apple and Masimo did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.


If the ITC disagrees with U.S. Customs and Border Protection decision, it could be overruled.


In October, the ITC ruled Apple infringed on a patent of medical technology manufacturer Masimo, and issued an order banning sales and imports of watches that contained the pulse oximeter function. The Biden Administration had 60 days to decide whether they would allow the decision to take effect. Ahead of that decision, Apple preemptively pulled the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models of its watches from shelves. On Dec. 26, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said they would not reverse the decision and allowed it to take effect and that same day Apple filed an appeal. One day later, the U.S Court of Appeals ruled Apple could sell its Apple Watch Ultra 2 and the Apple Watch Series 9 after Apple argued it would “suffer continuing irreparable harm to its reputation and goodwill” if it was not allowed to sell Apple Watches with the technology.


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