Apple Files Urgent Appeal To Overturn Watch Ban

A US appeals court last Wednesday paused a federal commission’s import ban on Apple’s smartwatches that was imposed due to a patent dispute over the watch’s medical monitoring technology, Reuters reported.

Apple filed an emergency request on December 26 asking the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to halt the International Trade Commission’s October order which had determined that the tech giant had infringed on the patents of the Calfornia-based Masimo.

Apple celebrated the appellate court decision, saying in a statement that the company was “thrilled” to have its Apple Watch lineup available for customers “in time for the new year.” Apple said its Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9 devices, which include the blood oxygen monitoring feature would be back in US Apple Stores on Thursday, December 28.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) banned the import and sale of Apple Watches which include the technology for monitoring blood-oxygen levels that Apple began including in its Series 6 smartwatches in 2020.

Masimo accused the tech giant of poaching its employees, stealing its technology, and incorporating it into its smartwatches. Apple countersued, claiming that Masimo’s legal actions were a ploy to “clear the path” for its competing smartwatch.

In its brief, 4-paragraph ruling, the appellate court said the ITC’s ban would be paused while the court considers Apple’s motion to block the ban during the appeals process. The court gave the ITC until January 10 to respond.

Initially, Apple had asked the Biden administration to veto the ITC’s ban. However, on December 26, the administration refused, allowing the ban to take effect. Apple filed the emergency request later that day.

In its emergency request, Apple told the appeals court that Customs and Border Protection was considering whether the redesigned versions of its Apple Watches infringe on Masimo’s patents and can be imported. CBP expected to reach its decision by January 12, Apple said.