Apple Watch Sales Ban Reinstated in U.S. Effective Tomorrow

Apple's motion to stay an Apple Watch sales ban for the duration of its appeal was denied today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, according to a court document viewed by MacRumors. Apple's interim stay will be lifted as of January 18 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time, the filing indicates, meaning the sales ban will be reinstated tomorrow.

Apple Watch Series 9
The order means that Apple will once again no longer be able to sell Apple Watch models with blood oxygen sensing in the U.S., including the Series 9 and Ultra 2. The ban first began last month, but it was quickly paused after Apple received an interim stay.

The U.S. International Trade Commission last year ordered the import and sales ban after ruling that Apple violated Masimo's pulse oximetry patents with the Apple Watch's blood oxygen sensing feature, first introduced on the Series 6 model in 2020. Masimo has accused Apple of stealing trade secrets and poaching employees.

Apple will likely sell modified Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models without the Blood Oxygen app in the U.S. to sidestep the sales ban, while it continues to appeal.

"Apple's claim that its redesigned watch does not contain pulse oximetry is a positive step toward accountability," a Masimo spokesperson told MacRumors. "It is especially important that one of the world's largest and most powerful companies respects the intellectual property rights of smaller companies and complies with ITC orders when it is caught infringing."

As a longer-term measure, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently reported that Apple is preparing a software update that would adjust the Blood Oxygen app's algorithms, in an attempt to avoid Masimo's patented technology. It's unclear if this effort will be successful, and the legal battle between Apple and Masimo is likely far from over.

Update: In a press release, Masimo CEO Joe Kiani shared the following statement in response to Apple's motion for stay being denied.

"The Federal Circuit's decision to lift the temporary stay is a victory for the integrity of the American patent system and the safety of people relying on pulse oximetry," said Kiani. "It affirms that even the largest and most powerful companies must respect the intellectual rights of American inventors and must deal with the consequences when they are caught infringing others' patents."

Masimo said it previously released a study showing that the Apple Watch's blood oxygen sensing feature "missed over 90% of potentially life-threatening events," while touting the effectiveness of its own Masimo W1 health watch.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

Spaceboi Scaphandre Avatar
22 weeks ago
So what's it gonna be Apple? Are you gonna actually pay Masimo? Or are you actually gonna sell your customers a gimped Apple Watch?
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
truthsteve Avatar
22 weeks ago
customers: "YEAH, **** APPLE, MAKE THEM PAY"

also customers: "Why are we paying $100 more for Series 10 with new Blood Oxygen implementation?"
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DMG35 Avatar
22 weeks ago
Looks like Apple either needs to disable the Blood Oxygen sensor or pay Masimo for their patent.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
22 weeks ago

This assumes, of course, that Masimo is being reasonable in its ask. The device my doctor uses can be bought on Amazon for $12. The rumor I heard was that Masimo is asking $100/watch.
What is a reasonable asking price anyways? Reasonable is somewhat subjective.

What if Masimo were to ask $200? Apple seems to think that's a "reasonable" price to charge us to upgrade from 8GB memory to 16GB on their Macs. ?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
22 weeks ago
Apple really needs to get their crap together.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sigvard Avatar
22 weeks ago
I'm hoping that they don't disable the feature on sold devices. It would be an instant return of my AWU2 if so, not that I need that feature but more for the principle.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)