The fate of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the US hangs in the balance
The embers of this story were kindled by a long-standing patent dispute between Apple and Masimo, a medical technology company. Masimo claimed that Apple’s blood oxygen sensor technology in the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 infringed on two of their patented inventions.
In October 2023, the International Trade Commission (ITC) sided with Masimo, ruling that Apple had indeed infringed its patents. This verdict paved the way for a potential import ban on the aforementioned Apple Watch models in the US.
With the ITC ruling looming, Apple faced a crucial decision. Rather than risk a potential import ban, the company took a proactive step and voluntarily ceased sales of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the US on December 21st, 2023. This swift action prevented an immediate disruption of shipments and sales but left its customers in limbo.
Apple, unwilling to accept the ITC decision, filed an appeal with the Federal Circuit Court. Meanwhile, the US Trade Representative (USTR) had 60 days to decide whether to uphold the ITC’s ruling or veto it. This period of uncertainty created a buzz in the tech world, leaving everyone waiting with bated breath.
On December 27th, 2023, the Federal Circuit Court granted Apple a temporary stay, effectively pausing the ITC’s import ban. This unexpected development meant that Apple could resume sales of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the US, bringing a wave of relief to both the company and its eager customers.
While the temporary stay offers a sigh of relief, the legal battle is far from over. The Federal Circuit Court will hear oral arguments from both parties in the coming months, and the USTR still has the option to review the ITC’s ruling and potentially veto it.
Availability and demand
With the temporary sales ban lifted, expect a surge in demand for both models. Be prepared for potential crowds and long wait times, especially at your local Apple Store. To avoid the hustle and bustle, you can also opt for online ordering, which begins tomorrow at 12 PM PT.
(via Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman)