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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

US import ban impacts specific Apple watch models amid patent row

The US import ban on select Apple Watch models over patent disputes with Masimo Corp takes effect, impacting Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. Apple is challenging the decision.

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On Tuesday, a US import ban on select Watch models took effect, following the Biden administration's decision not to overrule a verdict concerning patent breaches. In October, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) concluded that some Apple Watch models infringed upon a patented technology for measuring blood oxygen levels.

Apple has challenged the ITC's conclusion, deeming it incorrect, and hopes for a reversal. However, the company recently suspended of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the US.

Features of the Apple Watch 9

Launched on September 24 2023, the Apple Watch 9, while similar in appearance to its predecessor, is equipped with a more robust chip. This enhancement boosts Siri's performance, strengthens iPhone connectivity, and introduces an innovative finger-thumb tap feature. The embargo, however, has disrupted its market presence.

The conflict traces back to a complaint filed by Masimo Corp, a medical device manufacturer, in mid-2021. Masimo accused Apple of duplicating its light-based oximetry technology.

Apple and Masimo have been embroiled in a legal tussle, with Apple recently initiating two lawsuits against Masimo for allegedly mimicking its technology. Despite this, the ITC ruled earlier this year that Apple's watches infringed on two of Masimo's patents related to blood oxygen sensing. This decision resulted in the current import restriction on the Ultra 2 and Series 9 models.

Apple has responded by lodging an appeal and seeking a provisional suspension of the ban from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The company is awaiting a verdict from US Customs and Border Protection to determine if its re-designed watches still violate Masimo's patents. This judgement is anticipated on January 12, 2024.

In a statement, Apple expressed its strong objection to the USITC's decision and reaffirmed its commitment to making the impacted models available to US customers as promptly as possible. The company also accused Masimo of utilising the ITC to obstruct a potentially life-saving product from reaching American consumers.

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Nurin Sofia
Nurin Sofia
Nurin Sofia is a news editor at Tech Edition. Her interest is in technology and startups, occasionally crunching news for gaming. Sofia enjoys playing video games, going on bike rides, and gardening when she isn't behind a keyboard.

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