Apple Watch models are back on sale in the USA after a temporary pause on the sale ban
Apple has resumed direct sales of its popular Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 devices after a temporary import and sales ban was paused by a federal appeals court on December 28th. The ban stemmed from a patent infringement lawsuit filed by medical device maker Masimo, which claimed Apple’s blood oxygen sensor technology in newer Apple Watch models violates two of its patents.
Masimo also accused Apple of stealing Masimo trade secrets and poaching employees. Initially, the International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed with Masimo and banned import/sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2. This led Apple to scramble to offer a software fix, but that was deemed insufficient since the issue related to the actual blood oxygen sensor hardware itself.
Now Apple plans to redesign the sensor by January 13th to comply with the ITC rulings. Meanwhile, the appeals court pause grants Apple a brief reprieve to appeal the ban, which could be reinstated on January 10th or 13th pending further ITC decisions. Still, it only impacted Apple direct sales, not third-party retailers. Nonetheless, Apple insists the ban causes irreparable damage, since its wearables business generates around $17 billion annually.
For now, consumers can purchase the highly-rated Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 from Apple again while legal proceedings continue. But the situation remains uncertain, as the disputed ban could be re-imposed this January if Apple’s appeal and redesigned sensor fail to satisfy the ITC. So buyers may want to act fast, as Apple could be forced to halt direct sales once more in a matter of weeks.