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Apple Appeals Decision on Watch Imports Ban

Apple Appeals Import Ban Decision

Credit: Apple Inc logo at Hong Kong Apple store — Photo by bedobedo

Apple has appealed against a decision to ban imports of its watches. The appeal follows the Biden administration’s decision not to veto a government tribunal’s ruling.

Emergency Request Filed by Apple

Credit: SHYMKENT, KAZAKHSAN – JANUARY 23, 2023: Apple logo on a black background on the wall of an electronics store — Photo by alexkoral

The tech giant filed an emergency request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to halt the ban. Apple seeks to pause the ban until U.S. Customs and Border Protection decides on the patent infringement issue.

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Apple’s Redesigned Watches Under Scrutiny

Credit: PARIS, FRANCE – APR 10, 2015: New wearable computer Apple Watch smartwatch displaying the Apple Sport Watch collection. Apple Watch incorporates fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities and integration with iOS Apple products and services — Photo by ifeelstock

Apple asked the Federal Circuit to delay the ban until a decision is made on whether redesigned versions of its watches infringe Masimo’s patents. The customs office is expected to make its decision by Jan. 12.

Masimo’s Accusations Against Apple

Credit: Masimo’s headquarters in Irvine, California. The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled earlier this year that the Apple Watch violates two Masimo patents related to blood-oxygen sensing and imposed an import ban on the Ultra 2 and Series 9 models. | BLOOMBERG

Masimo accuses Apple of hiring its employees and stealing pulse oximetry technology for the Apple Watch. This technology has been a feature in Apple Watches since the Series 6 model in 2020.

ITC’s Order and U.S. Trade Representative’s Decision

Credit: U.S. International Trade Commission

The U.S. International Trade Commission’s order bars imports and sales of certain Apple Watches. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai decided not to reverse the ban, making the ITC’s decision final on Dec. 26.

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Apple’s Response to the Ban

Credit: BANGKOK, THAILAND – NOVEMBER 2018 : Closeup Apple logo In front of Apple store with reflection glassed at the iconsiam on November 11, 2018 in bangkok, Thailand, Apple already launch its first Thai store at IconSiam. — Photo by Tzido

An Apple spokesperson stated the company has appealed the ban to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Apple disagrees with the USITC decision and is working to make its Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 available to U.S. customers again.


ITC and Federal Circuit’s Stance on Apple’s Request

Credit: Paris, France – Oct 28, 2022: New Apple Watch Series 8 with white band on white support — Photo by ifeelstock

The ITC rejected Apple’s request to pause the ban during the appeal process. The Federal Circuit also opposed Apple’s request to halt the ban in a court filing.

Masimo’s Stance on the ITC Decision

Credit: Masimo Root® with SET®, RRp®, and Radius PPG™ (Photo: Business Wire)

A Masimo spokesperson hailed the ITC decision as a victory for the U.S. patent system and American consumers. The decision is seen as an affirmation of intellectual property rights.

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Potential Outcomes and Apple’s Strategy

Credit: LOS ANGELES – 21 MARCH 2015: Apple store on 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica CA United States. The retail chain owned and operated by Apple Inc is dealing with computers and electronics worldwide. — Photo by ViewApart

Intellectual property attorney Nicholas Matich suggests that Apple might quickly design around the patents or remove the infringing feature. Apple’s decision to live with the ITC order rather than settle is seen as unusual.

Analysts Predict Extended Litigation Timeline

Credit: SANTA MONICA, CA/USA – MAY 12, 2016: Apple store entrance and sign. Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company. — Photo by wolterke

Stifel analysts predict that an Apple appeal could extend the ITC case verdict by about a year. This extension could prolong the legal battle between Apple and Masimo.

Current Availability of Apple Watches

Credit: PARIS, FRANCE – APR 10, 2015: Customers admiring the new Apple Watch smartwatches displayed at an Apple Store. The most wanted wearable device will be on sale from April 24 in 9 countries and regions — Photo by ifeelstock

Apple has paused sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the U.S. However, these models remain available through other retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.

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Exclusions and Ongoing Legal Battles

Credit: London, United Kingdom – Sept 28, 2022: Male hand holding new Apple Watch Ultra Smartwatch against defocused bokeh background with all apps on the oled display screen — Photo by ifeelstock

The ban does not affect the Apple Watch SE model. Apple is also involved in separate legal actions, including a patent infringement lawsuit against Masimo and a mistrial in a California federal court.

Historical Context of Presidential Veto on ITC Rulings

Credit: AliveCor KardiaMobile 6L Mobile ECG machine / IF Design

The last time a presidential administration vetoed an ITC ruling was in 2013 during Obama’s administration. The Biden administration previously chose not to veto a separate import ban on Apple Watches in a dispute with AliveCor.

Financial Impact on Apple’s Business

Credit: NEW YORK CITY – MAY 12: Entrance to Apple retail store with people on May 12, 2013 in New York. The Apple Store is a chain of retail stores owned and operated by Apple Inc., dealing in computers and consumer electronics. — Photo by AndreyKr

Apple’s wearables, home, and accessory business, which includes the Apple Watch, generated $8.28 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2023. This segment is a significant part of Apple’s overall revenue stream.

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