Apple Watch Sales Ban Now Official; US Govt. Refuses to Overturn ITC Ruling

Apple Watch Ban official
In Short
  • In the Presidential Review, the Biden administration has refused to overturn the ban on the sale of the latest Apple Watch models in the U.S.
  • Thus, Apple is now officially banned from selling Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the U.S.
  • While issuing a statement, Apple has said that it strongly disagrees with the ban and will make efforts to resume sales of the banned Apple Watches.

Today, Apple has been officially banned from selling its latest Apple Watch models – Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the US after the Biden government refused to veto the ban. For the uninitiated, Apple has been caught up in a patent fiasco with the medical company Masimo for infringing upon patents of blood oxygen monitoring sensors.

Apple Watch Sales Ban: What has Happened So Far?

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Apple and Masimo have been embroiled in a patent war since 2020. In early 2020, Masimo filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in the Central District of California alleging that Apple has infringed upon its patents related to blood oxygen monitoring.

In 2021, Masimo again filed a formal complaint with the International Trade Commission after receiving an unsatisfactory response to the lawsuit filed in 2020. Out of the 103 patents for which Masimo complained, ITC found Apple guilty of infringing upon 2 patents.

In October 2023, ITC ruled that it would wait for the Presidential Review before making the ban official. As a pre-emptive measure, Apple took down the sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from its online website and official brick-and-mortar stores last week.

Earlier today, the Presidential Review was announced and the Biden administration refused to overturn the ban. Thus, making the Apple Watch sales ban official.

“After careful consultations, Ambassador Katherine Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s determination and the ITC’s decision became final on December 26, 2023.” – Biden Administration

Apple Maintains Stance

Meanwhile, in a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple has expressed that it strongly disagrees with the Apple Watch sales ban and will make efforts to resume Apple Watch sales in the U.S.

“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.” – Apple

It seems that Apple will now explore possibilities to turn off the blood oxygen monitoring feature via a software update and this would allow the company to sell the banned Apple Watches in the country.

Alternatively, Masimo has already said that it is ready to negotiate with Apple. if the Cupertino giant were to accept this route, it would have to shell out several million dollars.

Can I Still Buy an Apple Watch in the U.S.?

If you are planning to buy the latest Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the holiday season, you can still get one at third-party retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart. Notably, Apple has only banned the sales of the aforementioned two models via its official channels, you can still purchase the Apple Watch SE from the official Apple website or store.

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