Apple watch sales resume after ban is pausedfollowing a temporary suspension by an appeals court. This decision, made on Wednesday, marks a significant reprieve for the tech giant.
Apple announced that the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models would be available in Apple stores from Wednesday and online from Thursday. This announcement came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a temporary stay against the import ban that had been imposed due to a patent infringement issue involving the blood oxygen sensor in these devices, originally identified by the International Trade Commission (ITC).
An Apple spokesperson expressed the company's enthusiasm: “We are thrilled to return the full Apple Watch lineup to customers in time for the new year,” and further noted that “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 apple.com tomorrow by 12pm PT.”
The court's decision on Wednesday, as stated in the court filing, allows for a temporary halt to the Remedial Orders, providing Apple a reprieve. This decision came shortly after the Biden administration chose not to intervene in the ITC ban. Apple had appealed for a longer stay, with the ITC expected to respond by January 10. Apple also mentioned its submission of redesigned Apple Watch models for customs approval, which could potentially circumvent the ban.
This interim stay is crucial for Apple, allowing the sale of these models during a peak sales period. Apple's wearables business, including Apple Watch sales, reported significant revenue in fiscal 2023. The temporary sales halt had not affected the Apple Watch SE model, which lacks the blood oxygen reading feature.
Apple’s stock remained stable despite the news, while Masimo, the medical technology company whose intellectual property was at the center of the dispute, saw a decline in shares by over 4%.
In a statement to The Verge, Apple spokesperson Nikki Rothberg detailed the renewed availability of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models, highlighting the importance of these devices to Apple’s product lineup. “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,” Rothberg said.
The restart of sales follows a temporary pause on the sales and import ban by the appeals court. The court's decision allows Apple to continue sales while awaiting a ruling on whether proposed changes to the watches would resolve the patent issues. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expected to deliver a verdict on these changes by January 12th.
The implications of this legal situation are significant for both Apple and Masimo. While Apple has temporarily averted a sales halt of its popular products, the final outcome of the patent dispute remains uncertain. This ongoing legal battle underscores the intricate challenges tech companies face regarding intellectual property rights and the complexities of the global market.