Apple Watch Import Ban Upheld In The US


A recent ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) has upheld the ban on the import of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States. The decision, which was not vetoed by the Biden administration, has gone into effect, impacting the availability of these Apple Watch models in the country.

Key Takeaway

The upheld ban on the import of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the U.S. following the ITC ruling has led to the cessation of sales of these models by Apple in the country. The company has contested the decision and is taking steps to appeal the ruling, emphasizing the healthcare features of the Apple Watch.

Apple Halts Sales in Anticipation of Ban

In anticipation of the ban, Apple had already ceased the sales of the affected models. The company stopped online sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 on December 21 and halted in-store sales three days later.

US Trade Representative’s Decision

The Office of the United States Trade Representative released a statement confirming that Ambassador Katherine Tai chose not to reverse the ITC’s determination, making the ban final as of December 26, 2023.

Apple’s Response

Apple has strongly contested the patent infringement claims made by health tech company Masimo, emphasizing the healthcare features of the Apple Watch. The company has expressed its disagreement with the USITC decision and exclusion order, vowing to take all necessary steps to restore the availability of the affected Apple Watch models to customers in the U.S. Apple has also filed an appeal with the Federal Circuit court.

Background of the Dispute

The ban is related to a patent dispute involving a light-based pulse oximetry sensor introduced in the Apple Watch Series 6 in 2020. Masimo has accused Apple of infringing on its patented technology and of recruiting its employees to develop similar technology for its smartwatch line.

Masimo’s Reaction

Following the ITC decision, Masimo’s founder and CEO, Joe Kiani, emphasized the importance of holding Apple accountable for allegedly misappropriating their patented technology. Kiani has been vocal in various interviews, continuing to assert the company’s position against Apple.

Impact on Availability

While the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 are no longer available for purchase in the U.S., they remain accessible in other countries. The Apple Watch SE, which does not utilize the same sensor technology, continues to be available for purchase in the United States.

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