Biden admin refuses to veto ban on some Apple Watch imports

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By Carina

The Biden administration has opted not to veto the ban on specific Apple Watch imports into the United States, officially putting it into effect.

This decision follows the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) October 26 affirmation of a January ruling that favored medical technology company Masimo. In 2021, Masimo sued Apple for patent infringement over the Apple Watch Series 6.

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Masimo makes patent infringement assertion 

Masimo’s accusation involved allegations of employee poaching and trade secrets theft by Apple, focusing on the light-based technology for blood-oxygen-level measurement introduced in the Apple Watch Series 6. 

The legal battle originated in 2020 when Masimo initially filed a federal court lawsuit against Apple. 

However, a mistrial was declared in May, prompting Apple to counter-sue Masimo, claiming technology copying.

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Biden admin allows import ban on Apple watch to proceed

The Biden administration had a 60-day window to decide whether to intervene and veto the import ban or let it proceed. 

On Tuesday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives announced its decision not to reverse the ITC’s determination, allowing the ban to become official on December 26, 2023.

Apple’s appeals for temporary watch ban lift 

Apple, in response to the looming ban, appealed to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit. 

The tech giant requested the court to lift the ban temporarily, allowing federal officials to assess whether a redesigned Apple Watch model would still violate the ITC order. 

Apple stated earlier this month that it was proactively taking steps to ensure the swift return of Apple Watch products to customers if the ban went into effect.

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Continued disagreement and legal pursuits

Expressing strong disagreement with the order, Apple emphasized its pursuit of various legal and technical avenues to ensure Apple Watch remains available to customers. 

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The company is currently awaiting the outcome of the Presidential Review Period, which is set to conclude by December 25. 

Apple asserted its commitment to taking all necessary measures to return the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to U.S. customers promptly if the ban stands.

Ban’s limited impact on other Apple Watch models

As it stands, the import ban primarily affects the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. 

Apple clarified that the Apple Watch SE remains unaffected, and other models featuring the blood oxygen feature are not subject to the ban, reassuring consumers of the continued availability of these variants.

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