ua en ru

Apple Watch sales halted - Biden administration allows ITC ban

Apple Watch sales halted - Biden administration allows ITC ban Photo: Apple Watch imports halted due to Biden administration allowing US trade tribunal's ban (GettyImages)

The Biden administration has decided not to veto a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling that bans importing and selling certain Apple Watches following a patent infringement complaint from Masimo, a medical monitoring technology company. This decision will enforce a ban on Apple Watches using patented technology for reading blood-oxygen levels, starting with the Series 6 model, according to Reuters.

The ban, effective from December 26, explicitly targets Apple Watches that feature a pulse oximeter, a technology claimed by Masimo.

After careful consultations, Trade Representative Katherine Tai decided that Apple has paused the sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 models in response. The company can appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

This ruling does not affect the Apple Watch SE or previously sold watches. This event marks the first time since 2013 that a presidential administration has not vetoed an ITC ruling, the last instance involving a dispute between Apple and Samsung.

Patent conflict

Masimo's complaint against Apple began with allegations of employee poaching and technology theft for the Apple Watch's pulse oximetry feature. A jury trial in California ended in a mistrial in May, while Apple has also filed a lawsuit against Masimo in Delaware for patent infringement.

This legal battle is part of a broader trend of patent disputes in the tech industry, with another recent decision in February where the Biden administration did not veto an ITC ban on Apple Watches based on a complaint from AliveCor, another medical technology company.

Apple's wearables segment, including the Apple Watch, remains a significant revenue generator.

Also, we recently wrote that in 2024, Apple Inc. shifted its focus from the iPhone to its wearables business.