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Apple to Halt Sales of 2 Smartwatches Amid Patent Dispute

Apple is set to halt sales of two models of its smartwatch in the coming days as the company prepares to comply with a U.S. import ban related to a patent dispute.

The ban stems from a federal trade ruling over a blood-oxygen sensor on some versions of the Apple Watch, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Monday (Dec. 18).

The President Joe Biden administration has been reviewing the ruling, and the deadline for a decision is set to end on Christmas Day, according to the report.

The ban would include the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, the report said.

Apple has expressed its disagreement with the order and said that it is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that the Apple Watch is available to customers, per the report.

The case revolves around medical technology company Masimo, which alleged in a 2021 complaint that Apple violated its patents related to measuring blood-oxygen levels, according to the report. Apple has included a sensor, called a pulse oximeter, in most new models of the Apple Watch since 2020.

In case the ruling stands, Apple will pause the sale of the watches on its website beginning Thursday (Dec. 21) and at retail locations after Sunday (Dec. 24), Reuters reported Monday.

Apple’s other watch models that do not contain the disputed sensor are not affected by this decision, according to the report.

Masimo sued Apple in 2020, saying the company stole trade secrets related to its health monitoring technology and also stole away key employees.

Masimo asked the court to block any additional use of its technology in the Apple Watch, to order the return of confidential information that was allegedly stolen, and to order Apple to pay damages.

It was reported in October that Apple faces a potential ban on importing its watch after the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) issued an order that found that Apple’s watch violates Masimo’s patent rights.

“Today’s ruling by the USITC sends a powerful message that even the world’s largest company is not above the law,” Joe Kiani, founder, chairman and CEO of Masimo, said when announcing the ruling.

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