The Biden administration denied a direct appeal by Apple to overturn a ruling by the US International Trade Commission that bans two of the newest models of Apple’s popular Watch.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s office announced the continued ban stating, “After careful consultations, Ambassador Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s determination and the ITC’s decision became final on December 26, 2023.”
The US ITC prohibited specific Apple Watch imports due to a pulse oximeter feature triggering a patent conflict with California’s Masimo.
Apple has integrated this feature in watches since the 2020 Series 6.
Masimo claims Apple’s pulse reader infringes on its pulse-oximeter technology for blood oxygen monitoring.
The US International Trade Commission supported Masimo’s claim, enforcing a ban on the Series 9 and Ultra 2, all of which were removed from sale right before Christmas.
Apple plans to appeal this decision but couldn’t halt the ban during the appeal process.
Concurrently, Apple filed a lawsuit against Masimo.
Apple’s lowest-priced Watch SE remains available directly through Apple because it does not contain the Masimo technology.
Apple’s proactive stance highlights its commitment to contesting the ban, while Masimo’s allegations showcase the complexities of technology patent clashes.
This case emphasizes the impact of patent disputes on consumer technology and the need for clear intellectual property boundaries in the industry.
In a statement to the press, Apple said, “We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible”.