An appeals court has temporarily halted the import ban on the latest Apple Watches, allowing Apple to resume sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. This decision comes in response to an International Trade Commission (ITC) order in October that found the blood oxygen sensor in these devices infringed on intellectual property owned by Masimo, a medical technology company.
Apple had stopped selling these models both in stores and online last week in compliance with the ITC ban. The Biden administration declined to pause the ban on Monday, prompting Apple to file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Tuesday.
The court’s decision to grant a temporary stay allows Apple to sell the latest Apple Watch models during a crucial period, including the busy holiday shopping season. Apple Watch sales are a significant part of Apple’s wearables business, which reported $39.8 billion in sales in fiscal 2023.
The sales pause did not impact the Apple Watch SE, an older model without the blood oxygen level reading feature, and other retailers continued to offer the latest models if they had existing stock.
Apple expressed its satisfaction with the decision and announced the resumption of sales, stating that the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, including the blood oxygen feature, would be available for purchase again in the United States through Apple Stores and online.
Apple has also submitted redesigned Apple Watch models for customs approval that could potentially resolve the intellectual property infringement issue. The ITC will need to reply by January 10, and Apple continues to seek a longer stay to address the underlying concerns. The temporary halt in the ban is a notable victory for Apple, allowing the company to continue offering its latest smartwatches to consumers.
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