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Apple circumvents ban on selling smartwatches in U.S.

Apple circumvents ban on selling smartwatches in U.S. Apple circumvented the ban on selling smartwatches in the U.S. (photo: Getty Images)

Apple has successfully circumvented a court ban on selling its smartwatches, Apple Series 9 and Ultra 2, in the United States. Law enforcement agencies determined that the tech giant could implement a redesign, allowing the resumption of sales for the new Apple Watch models, according to Reuters.

The import ban imposed by the United States International Trade Commission on Apple Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches has been in effect since December 26 of last year. It is noted that Apple managers were successful in persuading the Appeals Court to suspend the ban.

Apple stated that the proposed redesign would allow it to bypass conclusions that the watch infringes on Masimo's patents for a device measuring blood oxygen levels.

Apple informed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that its updated watch does not include a pulse oximetry feature.

"Apple's claim that its redesigned watch does not contain pulse oximetry is a positive step toward accountability," said a representative of Masimo.

What proceeded this

Masimo, based in Irvine, California, accused Apple of hiring its employees and stealing pulse oximetry technology for use in the Apple Watch. Apple incorporated the pulse oximetry feature into its smartwatch starting with the Apple Watch Series 6 in 2020.

In the same year, Masimo filed a lawsuit, claiming that Apple stole trade secrets related to blood oxygen level measurement technology and infringed on Masimo's patents.

Apple countersued Masimo for patent infringement, calling Masimo's lawsuits a clearing-the-way maneuver. In 2022, Masimo released its W1 watch, which tracks blood oxygen levels and other health metrics.

In December 2023, Apple suspended the sale of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States due to the patent dispute. This move followed a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission.