White House upholds Apple Watch ban: Tech giant fears ‘irreparable harm’ from sales suspension 

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By Carina

Apple finds itself in a legal tug-of-war as it grapples with the implications of a White House-approved ban on the import of some of its watches. 

The ban stems from a heated dispute over the blood oxygen technology embedded in the devices, leading the tech giant to declare potential “irreparable harm.” 

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Apple files emergency motion to continue sales

In a strategic move, Apple urgently seeks court intervention to allow continued sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 models while navigating a patent dispute with medical monitoring technology company Masimo.

In response to the import ban, Apple is taking proactive steps by filing an emergency motion, aiming to secure the court’s permission to continue selling its popular watches. 

Specifically, the tech giant is urging the court to temporarily lift the ban on the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models until the resolution of the patent dispute with Masimo. 

Apple’s plea emphasizes the need for a pause, at least until the US Customs office delivers its verdict on whether the redesigned watch versions violate Masimo’s patents. The critical decision from the customs office is slated for January 12.

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Masimo accuses Apple of theft in patent dispute 

Masimo, a medical monitoring technology company, accuses Apple of unlawfully appropriating its pulse oximetry technology, a crucial component for monitoring blood oxygen levels. 

The allegation goes beyond technological disputes, as Masimo claims that Apple has enticed some of its employees to defect and join the ranks of the Californian tech giant. 

The battle between the two companies has reached a point where Apple is not only defending its technology but also contesting Masimo’s claims of employee recruitment.

US Trade Representative upholds ITC’s verdict

The US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, has recently upheld the decision made by the International Trade Commission (ITC). 

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This decision is a significant setback for Apple’s attempts to circumvent the import ban. Notably, previously purchased Apple Watches equipped with blood oxygen measurement remain unaffected by the ITC order. 

Apple contends that the ITC’s decision is flawed, citing multiple factual errors. 

Additionally, the tech giant argues that Masimo does not offer a competing product in the US in substantial quantities, implying that lifting the ban would not cause significant harm to Masimo.

Apple’s defense: Challenging ITC’s rationale

Apple’s defense against the import ban is grounded in the assertion that the ITC’s decision is riddled with factual inaccuracies. 

The company contests Masimo’s claims and stresses that the alleged patent infringement has not resulted in any real harm to Masimo, especially considering the absence of a competing product in meaningful quantities in the US market. 

Apple’s argument aims to sway the court’s perspective on the urgency and severity of the import ban.

Also Read: Biden admin refuses to veto ban on some Apple Watch imports

Navigating legal challenges amid innovation disputes

As Apple presses forward with its emergency motion and legal defense, the tech industry watches closely, recognizing the broader implications of this clash between innovation and intellectual property rights. 

The outcome of this dispute will not only impact Apple’s ability to sell its popular watches but will also set precedents for how technology giants navigate patent disagreements in a rapidly evolving market.

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