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Explained: Why the Apple Watch has been banned, what it means for buyers, Apple, and more – Times of India


The US International Trade Commission has banned certain Apple Watch models following a complaint by Masimo. The Watch’s blood-oxygen measuring feature infringes on Masimo‘s patents, leading to an import ban on models using the disputed technology. President Biden had 60 days to veto the order but chose not to do so, thus the ban has now gone into effect.
Why the Apple Watch has been banned
In 2020, Masimo accused Apple of stealing trade secrets patent infringement, requesting a ban on the sale of Apple Watches in the US. A year later, Masimo accused Apple of patent infringement.
During the launch of the Watch Series 6, Apple was accused of infringing on 10 pulse oximeter patents by a company. These accusations followed Apple’s attempt to partner with Masimo, a company that supplies its technology to many hospital equipment.
Masimo’s CEO claimed that Apple had ulterior motives as it wanted to poach its employees. Later that year, Apple recruited several employees from Masimo, including the chief medical officer, who had access to confidential information and trade secrets belonging to Masimo.
In January of this year, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) found that Apple violated one of Masimo’s patents related to light-based pulse oximetry. However, the commission did not find Apple guilty of infringing on the other nine patents. The commission upheld the judge’s ruling from January, which found that Apple violated Masimo’s patent rights in relation to light-based technology used for reading blood oxygen levels.
What Apple Watch models have been banned?
The ITC ruling applies only to Apple Watches with the light-based pulse oximetry feature in question but does not specify which affected models. Masimo claims that all Apple Watches with pulse oximetry, which was introduced first on the Watch Series 6, have infringed on their patents. However, as of now Apple has only paused the sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models.
How does the Apple Watch ban affect the customers?
Customers will not be able to purchase the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 from the Apple Store. However, these two models are available for purchase from third-party retail stores, such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target and others, while supplies last.
The Apple Watch SE 2 is unaffected and will continue to be available at Apple Store and other retail stores since it does not have the pulse oximetry feature.
Apple has also said that it will not replace out-of-warranty watches older than the Series 6. However, under-warranty watches can be replaced and serviced.
What actions is Apple taking against the ban?
Apple has submitted an appeal to the International Trade Commission’s ruling that prohibits the sale of Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 models in the United States. The company has also requested an emergency stay on the ban for at least two weeks until a decision is made on redesigned versions of the banned models.
Apple is also said to be working on software modifications that would allow its watches to operate without infringing Masimo’s patents. If the workaround is approved by US Customs and Border Protection, the company could resume importing and selling the banned Watch models. However, Masimo has stated that a software workaround would not work since its patent covers hardware.
If nothing works around, then Apple could choose to settle with Masimo. Joe Kiani, the CEO of Masimo, has expressed a willingness to resolve the dispute through a settlement.


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