Apple appeals Biden admin’s watch import ban 

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By Carina

Apple has taken legal action to challenge the import ban imposed on its watches, responding to a complaint from medical technology firm Masimo. 

Despite the Biden administration’s decision not to intervene, Apple has lodged an appeal and an emergency request to suspend the ban.

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Apple appeals watch ban, seeks urgent halt for patent review

Apple filed an appeal on Tuesday against the prohibition of its watches, initiated by Masimo’s complaint. 

Simultaneously, the tech giant submitted an emergency request to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, seeking to halt the ban until Customs and Border Protection assesses redesigned watch versions for patent infringement. 

Apple aims to keep the ban on hold during this evaluation, with a decision expected by January 12.

ITC bans Apple watch sales in Masimo technology dispute

Masimo accuses Apple of hiring its employees, appropriating pulse oximetry technology, and incorporating it into the Apple Watch. 

The ban, issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), prohibits the import and sale of Apple Watches employing technology for blood-oxygen level readings. 

The dispute centers on Apple’s inclusion of the pulse oximeter feature in its watches, starting with the Series 6 model in 2020.

Government decisions and Apple’s response

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai opted not to overturn the ban after careful consideration, making the ITC’s decision final on December 26. 

Apple expressed strong disagreement with the ruling, stating its commitment to returning affected watches to U.S. customers promptly. 

The company has initiated an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Apple appeals ban, prolonging legal battle over patents

While legal disputes of this nature often end in settlements, Apple’s decision to appeal indicates potential confidence in quickly addressing patent concerns. 

Stifel analysts predict that an Apple appeal could prolong the case by approximately another year. 

The ban has affected Apple’s Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the U.S., leading to a temporary halt in sales.

ITC veto: Apple faces import ban amid Q3 revenue surge

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Notably, the ITC has not seen a presidential administration veto since 2013. 

Apple faced a similar situation in February when the Biden administration chose not to intervene in another import ban related to a patent-infringement complaint from AliveCor. 

The wearables, home, and accessory business, including the Apple Watch, generated $8.28 billion in revenue during the third quarter of 2023.

Apple’s watch import ban: Implications for Tech patents

As Apple fights against the import ban on its watches, the legal battle raises questions about patent disputes in the tech industry. 

The outcome will not only impact Apple’s product availability but may also set precedents for future disputes between significant players in the technology and medical monitoring sectors.

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