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US Sales Of Apple Watch 9 And Ultra 2 Halted Amid Patent Clash

Discover the latest update as US sales of Apple Watch 9 and Ultra 2 halted amid a patent dispute. Stay informed on how this impacts availability and what it means for Apple and its customers.

Daisy-Mae Schmitt
Dec 26, 202379 Shares11340 Views
In a significant development affecting the tech giant Apple, US sales of Apple Watch 9 and Ultra 2 halted, as verified by CNBC. This decision comes in response to a ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) over a patent dispute involving the device's blood oxygen sensor.
Apple's official product pages now bear a telling footnote: “Following December 24, 2023, Apple no longer sells Apple Watch units in the United States with the ability to measure blood oxygen.” This statement marks a pivotal change for the tech giant's strategy in one of its key markets.
The immediate impact of this halt is visible on Apple's website, where the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are listed as “currently unavailable,” as observed on Thursday. Instead, the site now prominently features the Apple Watch SE, a model introduced in 2022 and unaffected by the ongoing patent dispute.
Apple had previously announcedto halt sales of Series 9 & Ultra 2 watches in USon its website on Thursday and in Apple stores after Sunday. However, the Apple Watch SE remains on sale, and other retailers can continue to sell the affected models while supplies last.

The Patent Dispute and Market Impact

The cessation of sales stems from an October ruling by the International Trade Commission, which found that the blood oxygen sensor in these devices infringed upon intellectual property owned by Masimo, a medical technology firm. This ruling restricts Apple from importing these devices, which are manufactured in China.
This sales pause is particularly significant as it means Apple is not selling its latest watch models in the U.S. during one of the busiest sales periods of the year. Bloomberg News also suggests that this could complicate repairs for existing watches, particularly for out-of-warranty hardware replacements.
An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on the matter. Meanwhile, Apple's shares experienced a slight downturn during Thursday's trading.
The situation still holds a glimmer of potential change, as President Joe Biden has the authority to veto the ITC ban. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated, “We’re tracking this case and the Dec. 25 deadline.” She emphasized that U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is “carefully considering all of the factors in this case.”
As the Apple Stores in the United States began their closure for the day, the sales halt for the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 officially commenced. With the stores set to reopen post-Christmas on December 26, these models will no longer be available.

Ongoing Developments

The Apple Watch sales ban is the latest chapter in a prolonged patent dispute between Apple and Masimo. The ITC's October ruling led to the case being forwarded to the Biden administration for a 60-day Presidential Review Period. President Biden, however, has not yet acted on the ruling, with the review period ending after December 25.
In anticipation of the ruling's potential enforcement, Apple preemptively removed the devices from its website on December 21 and from its stores post-Sunday. Apple's statement to 9to5Mac reflects its commitment to resolving this issue, indicating plans to appeal the ITC's decision with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on December 26.
For now, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 remain unavailable from Apple Stores, with their future availability in the United States uncertain. While other retailers like Amazon and Best Buy can continue sales until their stock depletes, they won’t be able to replenish their inventory once it runs out.
This development represents a significant challenge for Apple, affecting not only its sales but also its brand image in a highly competitive market. The resolution of this dispute and the subsequent actions of Apple and the U.S. government will be closely watched by consumers and industry analysts alike.
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