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Apple Watch ban sees Series 9 and Ultra 2 cut from US stores

Patent dispute with Masimo means Apple’s latest smartwatches will no longer be available in the US

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 21 December 2023 10:22 GMT
Apple pulling new watches from shelves

Apple’s latest smartwatch will no longer be sold online in the US from Thursday following a patent dispute over one of its sensors.

The sales ban, which impacts the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, will extend to Apple Stores from Christmas Eve.

The patent dispute relates to the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor, which medical technology firm Masimo claims is stolen from its products.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in October that it would uphold a judge’s decision from earlier this year, however there has since been a 60-day Presidential Review Period.

This review allows US President Joe Biden to veto the ruling, however it expires on Christmas Eve.

Such vetos are rare, though Apple has benefited from them in the past. A 2013 ITC ban on the iPhone 4 and certain iPad models was overturned after former President Barack Obama vetoed it.

An Apple spokesperson said that the company is “preemptively taking steps to comply” with the latest ban should the ruling stand.

Apple watches are seen on display at the Apple Store in Grand Central Station on December 18, 2023 in New York City (Getty Images)

“This includes pausing sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from starting 21 December, and from Apple retail locations after 24 December,” the spokesperson said.

“Should the order stand, Apple will continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.”

The spokesperson added that the US tech giant “strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers”.

The Apple Watch SE, which does not have the disputed blood oxygen Sp02 sensor, is not affected by the sales ban. Countries outside of the US are also not impacted by the sales ban.

Masimo CEO Joe Kiani told Bloomberg on Tuesday that he was open to resolving the dispute, however warned that the issue could not be fixed simply through a software update.

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