Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Apple must stop selling watches with blood oxygen feature

The Apple Watch Series 9. (Handout/TNS)

Apple Inc. has to stop selling its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches with a blood oxygen feature in the U.S., suffering another legal setback in its patent dispute with Masimo Corp.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declined Wednesday to grant Apple a longer pause on an import ban of the devices imposed by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ruling means the company has to stop selling the watches with the oxygen measurement feature while an appeal of the ban plays out — a period that Apple believes could last a year or more.

The decision means Apple will probably have to turn to its backup plan: selling watches without the blood oxygen tool that was found to violate Masimo patents. Apple has developed a software workaround to the ban that eliminates the function from its devices. Last week, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency approved redesigned versions of the watches that didn’t have the oxygen reader.

Masimo shares jumped as much as 2.8% following the decision, touching the highest intraday level in more than five months.

The court battle has threatened one of Apple’s biggest moneymakers in its home market, an unprecedented situation for the tech giant. The watches are a central piece of the company’s wearables, home and accessories division, a business that generated more than 10% of revenue last year, or nearly $40 billion.

The ITC ruled in October that Apple’s latest watches violate patents related to blood oxygen measurement. That led Apple to pause sales of the smartwatches just ahead of Christmas, though an interim stay allowed the company to bring the products back late last month.

Read More: Apple Watch Saga Set in Motion by Late-Night Email to Cook

According to the ITC, the harm Apple said it would face from the ban “is not unquantifiable, but rather speculative.” Apple maintains that the ruling from the ITC is erroneous and should be reversed.

Masimo had urged the Federal Circuit to reject the request for an extended delay, arguing Apple had almost three years to anticipate a ban and “cannot complain about the consequences of its own failure to prepare for exclusion.”

Apple pushed back on the ITC’s and Masimo’s arguments that its ability to continue selling the non-infringing Apple Watch SE means any reputational harm from the ban can’t be truly irreparable.

It also criticized the product the trade dispute was launched to protect, Masimo’s W1 watch, saying it didn’t exist when Masimo filed its complaint, wasn’t placed in the consumer channel and is sold only in negligible quantities “well over two years after this investigation began on the false premise that Masimo had an established domestic industry.”

The appeals court said in a brief order Wednesday, “we reach no conclusion on the merits of the appeal.” The panel said the temporary stay will expire at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday.

Representatives of Apple and Masimo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, added the blood oxygen sensor to its watches in 2020 with the Series 6. Masimo, a medical device company, sued Apple that year, alleging that the iPhone maker violated several of its health technology patents and stole its trade secrets.

The case is Apple Inc. v. ITC, 24-1285, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.


© 2024 Bloomberg L.P

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.