- Apple is pausing the sale of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States.
- Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 will not be available to order online after December 21, and offline sales will be halted on December 24.
- The Cupertino giant is pausing the sale of these watches due to a patent infringement dispute with medical tech company Masimo.
In an unexpected move, Apple today announced that it will halt the sale of its flagship wearables, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, in the United States. Why is that the case? The Cupertino giant has been caught in a long-running patent infringement battle with medical tech company Masimo. Find out all the details below.
Upon reading this, your first thought must be – Tell me about the dispute later, but first, update me on the sales halt. Have Apple Watch sales been paused from today? Until when can I buy an Apple Watch in the US?
When Will Apple Watch Sales Be Paused in the US?
The company has answered these questions in an official statement. The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be available to buy from the official website until December 21 at 12:00 PM PT. The offline in-store sales will not be halted until December 24, a day before Christmas.
In an official statement shared with 9to5Mac, Apple has stated that it’s taking preemptive measures to comply with the ITC ruling ahead of the presidential review. Here’s what the statement reads,
A Presidential Review Period is in progress regarding an order from the U.S. International Trade Commission on a technical intellectual property dispute pertaining to Apple Watch devices containing the Blood Oxygen feature. While the review period will not end until December 25, Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand.
Apple vs Masimo Court Battle
So, what happened between Apple and Masimo? Both the tech companies have been locked in a court battle for the last three-odd years. Masimo sued Apple for stealing trade secrets and internal info, infringing on 10 patents related to its blood oxygen monitoring feature back in 2020. This is also the year when the first Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 6, was launched with the blood oxygen monitoring tech.
Now, the patent infringement dispute has resulted in Apple’s defeat, with the court ruling that the company did infringe on one of Masimo’s patents. With this proven in court, Masimo is now seeking an injunction, looking to stop the import of Apple Watches from China to the US.
Well, the US ITC (International Trade Commission) agreed with the court ruling in October 2023, effectively issuing an order that could lead to an import ban on Apple Watches. This applies to the Apple Watch Series 6 and later models, excluding the Apple Watch SE which doesn’t have the blood oxygen monitoring feature.
This ban did not take effect instantly due to a pending 60-day presidential review and ruling from the Biden administration. US President Joe Biden has until December 25 to review the ruling and deliver his judgment. He could veto the ruling but there has been no update yet. However, it looks like Apple has an inkling of what’s coming and preparing for the same.
If President Biden does not veto the court ruling, it would mean that Apple is barred from selling its wearables with blood oxygen monitoring (i.e. the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 right now). Also, it would lead to an import ban on these Apple Watch models from China.
Nothing is set in stone right now, but Apple’s holidays might turn out to be melancholic if one of its flagship products is banned in its home country. The sale of Apple Watches remains unaffected in all other regions around the world.
So, if you were planning to gift a shiny new Apple Watch to your friends or family this Christmas, it might be wise to head to your local Apple Store and get it right now.