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Apple Watch faces potential import ban in the US

The International Trade Commission has found Apple in violation of a blood oxygen tracking patent owned by Masimo.
By

Published onOctober 27, 2023

An Apple Watch Series 6 displays a user's blood oxygen results.
TL;DR
  • Apple Watch imports in the US could be banned following a ruling by the International Trade Commission.
  • The ban decision now faced a Presidential review.
  • Apple was found infringing on a patent by medical company Masimo.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued a ruling that could potentially ban Apple from importing Apple Watches to the US. According to the ITC’s findings, Apple is in violation of a patent that belongs to medical technology company Masimo.

The commission upheld a previous ruling by a US judge who ruled in Masimo’s favor. The patent in question is for light-based pulse oximetry technology or blood oxygen tracking on Apple Watches.

While ITC’s latest ruling confirms Apple’s infringement and can potentially stop the company from bringing Apple Watches to the US, it will not come into effect immediately. The decision now faces a Presidential review and could be followed by possible appeals by Apple.

The Biden administration will have 60 days to veto the import ban on Apple Watches. However, as Reuters notes, US Presidents have rarely vetoed bans in the past.

“Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple,” an Apple spokesperson told Reuters. “While today’s decision has no immediate impact on sales of Apple Watch, we believe it should be reversed, and will continue our efforts to appeal.”

Meanwhile, Masimo CEO Joe Kiani said the ITC’s ruling “sends a powerful message that even the world’s largest company is not above the law.”

It’s unclear which models of the Apple Watch could be affected by the ban if it comes into effect. However, Masimo’s complaint alleged that the Apple Watch 6, the first one to feature blood oxygen tracking, violated its patent.