Apple Watch Import Ban Takes Effect as Biden Administration Declines Veto
In a significant development for the tech industry, the import ban on Apple Watches has officially taken effect after the Biden administration decided not to veto the decision.
The ban comes as a result of a complaint filed by medical monitoring technology company Masimo, accusing Apple of patent infringement.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued the order, which prohibits the import and sale of Apple Watches that use technology infringing on Masimo's patents related to reading blood-oxygen levels. This includes Apple's Series 6 model, which features a pulse oximeter.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai made the decision not to reverse the ban after careful consultations. However, Apple has the option to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
As a result of the ban, Apple has temporarily halted the sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the United States. However, the ban does not affect the Apple Watch SE, a less expensive model, which will continue to be sold. Previously sold watches are also not impacted by the ban.
Masimo has accused Apple of stealing its pulse oximetry technology and incorporating it into the Apple Watch. The legal battle between the two companies has been ongoing, with a mistrial declared in a jury trial on Masimo's allegations. Apple has also filed a separate patent infringement lawsuit against Masimo.
This is the first time since 2013 that a presidential administration has declined to veto an ITC ruling. In that case, President Obama's administration overturned an import ban on Apple's iPhones and iPads in a patent dispute with Samsung.
The Apple Watch import ban comes at a time when the company's wearables, home and accessory business is thriving. According to a recent report, this segment, which includes the Apple Watch, AirPods and other products, generated $8.28 billion in revenue during the third quarter of 2023.
The import ban on Apple Watches is now in effect after the Biden administration declined to veto the decision.
The ban is a result of a complaint filed by Masimo, accusing Apple of patent infringement.
Apple has temporarily halted the sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the United States.