Apple is banned from importing or selling its latest Apple Watches – The Washington Post

Apple is out of time in its smartwatch showdown with the U.S. government.

As of Tuesday, the company is banned from selling two of its newest and most popular wearables — the Watch Ultra 2 and the Watch Series 9 — in the United States, after an October decision by the United States International Trade Commission went uncontested by the Biden administration.

In that ruling, the USITC found that Apple infringed on blood oxygen detection patents held by California-based medical monitoring company Masimo and called for a ban on the import and sale of Apple Watches that contained the infringing technology.

The White House had until the end of Christmas Day to veto that decision, but it instead allowed its 60-day presidential review period to quietly expire. On Tuesday morning, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai confirmed in a statement that, after “careful consultations,” it would not overturn the ITC’s ruling.

“We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible,” the company said in a statement provided to The Post.

Those measures include a massive internal effort to overhaul how Apple Watches collect and present data about the amount of oxygen in a user’s blood, as well as legal attempts to buy the company a temporary reprieve from the ban.

In a filing to the D.C.-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit submitted Tuesday morning, Apple requested that the ban be paused until at least Jan. 12, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection will decide whether proposed “redesigned” versions of the Watch Ultra 2 and Watch Series 9 still infringe on Masimo’s patents.

Details about how exactly the company tried to redesign its smartwatches were redacted in the filing and remain unclear.

Apple paused direct sales of both of the affected Apple Watch models to consumers last week, although third-party retailers are still allowed to sell their existing stock. The lower-cost Apple Watch SE, which does not contain a blood oxygen sensor, remains the only smartwatch Apple is allowed to sell directly.

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