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Apple’s watch woes: Navigating patent disputes and sales bans

In a recent turn of events, Apple faces significant challenges with its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models due to a patent dispute with medical technology company Masimo. The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled in favor of Masimo, leading to a sales ban of these Apple Watch models in the U.S. This decision comes at a critical time, coinciding with the holiday shopping season, and has prompted Apple to cease sales of the affected models on their online store and retail outlets.

The controversy centers on the blood oxygen sensor technology in these Apple Watch models. Masimo accused Apple of patent infringement related to light-based blood oxygen monitoring, a feature introduced with the Apple Watch Series 6. Despite these legal setbacks, Apple remains determined to fight the ban. The company has appealed the ITC’s decision and is exploring various legal and technical options to ensure the continued availability of its products to consumers.

In response to the ITC’s decision, Apple has proactively halted sales of the disputed models on its website and will extend this action to its physical stores.

The ban’s implementation is scheduled post-Christmas, allowing third-party retailers to sell their existing stock until it runs out. As a result, customers seeking to purchase these specific Apple Watch models may turn to alternative retailers like Amazon and Best Buy.

The conflict with Masimo is not limited to the courtroom. Apple has also filed patent infringement lawsuits against Masimo, accusing the latter’s smartwatch of mimicking features found in the Apple Watch. In addition, Apple is reportedly working on a software update that it hopes will resolve the dispute with the ITC.

The ongoing legal battle highlights the complexities of intellectual property in the tech industry and the impact such disputes can have on product availability and consumer choice. As the situation unfolds, Apple continues to offer its older watch models and the Apple SE, which do not include the contested blood oxygen monitoring feature. Whether through legal resolution, software updates, or financial settlements, Apple’s efforts to navigate this challenge will be closely watched by consumers and industry stakeholders alike.

Bilgesu Erdem
Bilgesu Erdem
Bilgesu graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Communication, Department of Radio, Television and Cinema. After working as a reporter for various television channels and a newspaper, Bilgesu is currently working as a content editor at Newslinker. She loves technology and animals.