The clock has struck an unexpected hour. Apple, has just ceased selling its Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. But why? The answer lies in a patent dispute with Masimo, a medical technology company. This dispute centers around the blood oxygen sensor in these Apple Watch models, a feature Masimo claims infringes on their patents.
A decade ago, Apple and Masimo discussed potential collaboration. Fast forward to today, and Masimo accuses Apple of using that meeting to poach ideas and staff. Apple’s subsequent introduction of the blood oxygen sensor, a technology Masimo was developing, is now the heart of this legal tussle.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in October that Apple was indeed infringing on Masimo’s patent. This ruling has led to a halt in sales. And this has come into effect now. The company, however, denies any wrongdoing and is exploring legal and technical options to keep the Apple Watch available to customers.
It’s a legal chess battle
In this legal chess game, it seems the ultimate goal might be securing punitive damages. If victorious, the claimants could potentially argue for harm in the hundreds of millions, a financial blow that could significantly impact the intellectual property holder.
President Biden holds the power to overturn the ITC decision, but the clock is ticking; he must act by December 25th. Beyond this presidential review period, the decision is open to appeal in court, which is a likely next step. Concurrently, a parallel patent lawsuit is weaving its way through the legal system.
The ban’s impact is not just legal but also market-driven. On social media, users are already discussing the implications. Some are rushing to buy the last models at discounted prices, while others speculate about the potential for reselling at inflated prices.
The watches are perfectly fine to use
Some people seem to be confused. So it’s important to note that the situation at hand is not an outright “ban” on the Apple Watches themselves. Despite the legal complexities surrounding their sale, these devices continue to be safe, fully functional, and in compliance with existing regulations. The term “ban” in this context specifically refers to the restrictions on sales and imports, rather than any issues with the watches’ operational safety or regulatory adherence.
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For those still looking to purchase these models, third-party retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target are your go-to places in the US. As of now, they still have these watches in stock. However, since this “ban” from the ITC specifically restricts the import of the Series 9 and Ultra models into the U.S. Once retailers run out of their current stock, replenishing it will be impossible until this legal tangle unravels.
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