Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 sales resume temporarily

Some relief for Apple (a line you usually don’t say for the world’s most valued tech company). The Cupertino-giant has successfully obtained a temporary reprieve in its ongoing patent dispute with medical technology company Masimo, allowing the resumption of sales for its Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. The International Trade Commission (ITC) had imposed a ban in October, alleging patent infringement related to the blood oxygen sensor, and now, a federal appeals court in Washington DC has paused the import ban of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models. This legal victory enables Apple to proceed with sales, soon after the ban on the watches had come into effect.

Interested customers will find the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models back on the store shelves as well as on the online sites. “We are thrilled to return the full Apple Watch lineup to customers in time for the new year,” a spokesperson for Apple said in a statement. “Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, including the blood oxygen feature, will become available for purchase again in the United States at Apple Stores starting today and from tomorrow by 12pm PT. Apple’s teams have worked tirelessly over many years to develop technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features and we are pleased the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stayed the exclusion order while it considers our request to stay the order pending our full appeal.”

At the heart of the legal standoff is Masimo’s claim that Apple’s blood oxygen sensor technology, a key feature in the contested Apple Watch models, infringes on its intellectual property rights. The ITC’s ruling in favor of Masimo triggered a ban on the import and sale of the implicated Apple Watches, creating a substantial challenge for Apple’s operations. Furthermore, the Biden administration chose not to intervene in the ITC ban, prompting Apple to swiftly file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The court’s decision to grant an interim stay on the Remedial Orders offers Apple a temporary respite, allowing the company to resume sales during a critical period. “The motion for an interim stay is granted to the extent that the Remedial Orders are temporarily stayed,” a court filing Wednesday said.

The resumption of sales for the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 is strategically significant for Apple’s financial landscape. These models contribute to the company’s $39.8Bn wearables segment by sales, as of fiscal 2023. The ability to market these watches during the year-end shopping season safeguards a crucial revenue stream for the Cupertino-headquartered tech giant.

The US Court of Appeals has granted the ITC until January 10 to respond to Apple’s motion for a longer-term pause on the ban, while customs is expected to issue its decision on the matter on January 12th. This critical juncture will significantly influence the trajectory of the dispute. Apple’s submission of redesigned Apple Watch models for customs approval adds complexity to the unfolding narrative.


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