Apple Pausing Sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in U.S. Due to Patent Dispute

Apple today said it will be pausing sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the U.S. later this week due to an ongoing patent dispute with medical tech company Masimo related to blood oxygen sensing.

In a statement shared with 9to5Mac, Apple said the Series 9 and Ultra 2 will no longer be available to purchase on Apple's online store in the U.S. starting December 21 (after 12 p.m. Pacific Time), or from Apple retail stores in the U.S. after December 24. The devices will remain available to purchase in other countries.

In October, the ITC ordered a ban on some Apple Watch imports into the U.S. after finding that Apple violated Masimo's patents related to non-invasive blood oxygen sensing, also known as pulse oximetry. U.S. President Joe Biden has until December 25 to review the order, but presidential vetoes of ITC import bans have historically been rare. In the meantime, Apple said it is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand.

Apple added that it "strongly disagrees" with the ITC's order and is "pursuing a range of legal and technical options" to ensure that availability of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 resumes in the U.S. as soon as possible. Apple told 9to5Mac that it plans to appeal the ITC's order with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on December 26 if necessary.

Apple's full statement:

A Presidential Review Period is in progress regarding an order from the U.S. International Trade Commission on a technical intellectual property dispute pertaining to Apple Watch devices containing the Blood Oxygen feature. While the review period will not end until December 25, Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand. This includes pausing sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from starting December 21, and from Apple retail locations after December 24. The decision does not impact sales of the devices in other countries at this time.

Apple's teams work tirelessly to create products and services that empower users with industry-leading health, wellness, and safety features. Apple strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers.

Should the order stand, Apple will continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.

Since 2020, Masimo has accused Apple of poaching its employees and stealing trade secrets in order to develop the blood oxygen sensing feature available on the Apple Watch Series 6 and newer. In January, an ITC judge ruled that Apple had infringed on a Masimo patent relating to light-based technology for reading blood-oxygen levels.

In a statement today, Masimo said "the decision to exclude certain foreign-made models of the Apple Watch demonstrates that even the world's most powerful company must abide by the law," and it believes the ITC's order should be respected.

Related Forum: Apple Watch

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Top Rated Comments

MLVC Avatar
23 weeks ago
I'm now waiting for the comments "Apple should pull out of the US", from the same people that claim they should pull out of the EU whenever there's EU regulation to follow.

Edit: The amount of people taking this comment serious is both hilarious and sad.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BradWI Avatar
23 weeks ago
Great way to boost last minute holiday sales....
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
indychris Avatar
23 weeks ago

Dang it! I was about to purchase a series 9! do it?
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PowerButton Avatar
23 weeks ago
With soooo many patents out there, how does anyone design a product without infringing on some of them? You would have to have a dedicated team in R&D just to go over obscure patents.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
QCassidy352 Avatar
23 weeks ago
I’m a lawyer who used to do patent litigation. IMO US patent law is so broken that it really should be torn down to the studs and redone from scratch. It was designed for a time and for inventions that bear no resemblance to what we have now.

Halting sales of an entire smartwatch over one largely irrelevant feature that’s been around for 3 years is an insane way to deal with a dispute over that feature.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
foobarbaz Avatar
23 weeks ago
Actually, smart to pre-announce this if they have inventory left. People on the fence will rush to getting one this week.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)