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Apple appeals the Apple Watch ban, but reprieve could take a while

The earliest appeals decision could be more than two weeks away.
By
December 27, 2023
An Apple Watch Series 9 user edits the Snoopy watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • A US patent court ruled that new Apple Watches, including the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, infringe upon certain patents.
  • Consequently, Apple stopped selling these smartwatches to comply with the decision.
  • The company has filed an emergency request with the Court to pause the ban, but relief could be weeks away.

Apple stopped selling the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the US this holiday season, forced by a lost patent dispute. The Watch ban decision was hinging on a veto by the Biden administration, but that relief was declined, pushing Apple to stop sales completely. The company has now filed an appeal against the patent dispute, but a decision around the same may take a while to arrive.

Apple has filed an emergency request for the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to pause the ban until the US Customs and Border Protection decides whether the redesigned versions of its watches infringe upon patents, as Reuters reports. The customs office is due to decide on January 12, 2024, which is more than two weeks away.

The company has also appealed the dispute results to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Apple provided the following statement to 9to5Mac:

At Apple, we work tirelessly to create products and services that meaningfully impact users’ lives. It’s what drives our teams — Clinical, Design and Engineering — to dedicate years to developing scientifically validated health, fitness and wellness features for Apple Watch, and we are inspired that millions of people around the world have benefited greatly from this product. We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.

Apple also mentions that the Apple Watch ban does not impact service and repairs for customers who purchased the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 before December 25. You can also continue to purchase these smartwatches from retailers like Best Buy and Amazon until stocks last. Alternatively, you can settle for the Apple Watch SE, though it misses out on several features.

Apple is also working to develop a software fix that would circumvent the patents. Masimo, the company whose patents were infringed upon, contends that a software fix would not be adequate and that the hardware must change.

How this all plays out remains to be seen. Losing out its top smartwatches during the crucial sale season is undoubtedly a big blow to Apple.