Apple Watch Has Been Banned Again – Forbes

Bad news for AppleAAPL
watch fans. Some of the latest models of Apple watches have been banned – again. The Federal Appeals Court denied Apple’s request to temporarily stop the ban on the sale of these products until the appeal process is completed. By the end of today, Thursday January 18, 2024, the import ban will be in full effect again.

Apple’s appeal came in response to an initial ruling from the International Trade Commission. It was this division that determined that Apple’s advanced watch models – the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 – were violating patents registered by another company (the health technology company, MasimoMASI

Apple enjoyed a short time breather late last year when the Federal Circuit granted an interim pause on the ban while the appeal process unfolded. This was until a judge could give a verdict on a longer stay that would cover the entire appeal process. However, the latest court decision restores the ban, and now the ruling is back in force and will persist for the duration of the appeal.

People who must have the watches know there is a workaround of sorts to obtain them. Apple was given clearance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection earlier this month to sidestep the ban. You can import a redesigned version of these advanced watches without the one feature that caused the ban. The special feature is a pulse oximeter which measures oxygen concentration in the blood. The redesigned Apple watches will not include this function.

Background on the Watch Ban

The root of the dispute goes back several months. Last October, the ITC ruled that the pulse oximeter feature in the advanced Apple watches violated a patent that belongs to the California based company called Masimo. Apple was banned from bringing the specific models into the U.S and began to pull products off the shelves when the ban officially started in December. That was the ruling appealed by Apple.

A temporary relief was granted when the appeals court put a hold on the ban, giving a judge time to consider a stay. It also allowed the U.S. Customs to review Apple’s redesigned proposal. The temporary pause ends today, and the import ban comes back until the appeal process is over. That means Apple must only import and sell the approved redesigned watch while the appeal is still underway.

POSTSCRIPT: Apple has always enjoyed a reputation for creating products that are leading edge and widely enjoyed by customers. The ambition of Apple here was to introduce a revolutionary watch with new features. Given all the heightened attention of late on devices that track our health and wellbeing, it was a tall order that needs further examination.

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