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Apple can resume selling the latest Apple Watches, for now
- The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has granted an interim stay on the sales and import ban imposed on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
- This interim stay pauses the ban until US Customs can make a decision on changes that Apple is making to the Apple Watch to circumvent the infringing patents.
- The decision is expected by January 12, 2024, so Apple can continue selling its watches through its retail channels till then.
Apple is facing an unprecedented ban in the United States, thanks to a patent dispute loss that forced it to stop sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. The company had filed an emergency request with an appeals court to pause the ban temporarily, and this request has been granted.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has granted an interim stay on the sales and import ban imposed by the US International Trade Commission. The ITC ruled that Apple had infringed on two patents of medical technology company Masimo, both related to the light-based pulse oximeter feature that has been included in the smartwatches since the Apple Watch Series 6. Consequently, the ITC banned the sale and import of the infringing watches, with the ban primarily affecting the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
Apple had pulled its watches from its online and offline stores consequent to this ruling. Users could still buy them from other retailers like Best Buy and Amazon as long as stock lasts with them. Now, since the ban has been temporarily stayed, Apple can resume sales on its own platform until mid-January at least.
Apple shared the following statement with Bloomberg:
Apple’s teams have worked tirelessly over many years to develop technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features and we are pleased the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stayed the exclusion order while it considers our request to stay the order pending our full appeal.
The sales and import ban will remain paused until US Customs can determine if some of the changes Apple is making to the smartwatches would be enough to circumvent the infringing patents. This decision is expected by January 12, 2024.
The appeals court could grant Apple a longer stay, or the US Customs could decide in favor of Apple, which would extend the sales of the Apple Watch. However, if the US Customs decides otherwise, then the Apple Watches would go off the shelves again.