The Cupertino tech giant might be facing a potential ban on the import of Apple Watch in the United States after President Joe Biden decided to uphold the verdict of the International Trade Commission (ITC) which found Apple infringed on two patents of AliveCor.
When Apple launched the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018, it changed the algorithm to end support for AliveCor’s EKG Kardia band and its companion app “SmarthRhtym” on iOS.
In addition to suing the tech giant for killing its tech, AliveCore also filed a complaint at the ITC to ban the import of Apple Watch in the United States which infringed on its heart rate monitoring patents.
Ban on Apple Watch imports in the U.S. now depends on the outcome of AliveCor’s appeal
In December 2022, ITC ruled that Apple Watch ECG or heart rate monitoring tech infringed on two patents of AliveCor and levied a $2 bond per infringing Apple Watch imported or sold during the Presidential review period.
As President Biden’s administration had 60 days to decide whether to veto the import ban, it has agreed to let ITC’s ruling stand. According to MedTechDive, AliveCor CEO Priya Abani welcomed the decision and said it would protect patents that benefit consumers.
“We applaud President Biden for upholding the ITC’s ruling and holding Apple accountable for infringing the patents that underpin our industry-leading ECG technology. This decision goes beyond AliveCor and sends a clear message to innovators that the U.S. will protect patents to build and scale new technologies that benefit consumers.”
However, the ban on Apple Watch import has not gone into effect. When Apple won a review of ECG patents claims filed by AliveCor at the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (USPTO), AliveCor appealed the decision.
Therefore, ITC withheld the ban in its ruling until the resolution of AliveCor’s appeal at USPTO. Now, Apple Watch’s fate in the United States depends on USPTO findings.