December 27, 2023 08:17
A U.S. import ban on certain Apple smartwatch models came into effect Tuesday, after the Biden administration opted not to veto a ruling on patent infringements.
The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) decided in October to ban Apple Watch models over a patented technology for detecting blood-oxygen levels.
Apple contends that the ITC finding was in error and should be reversed, but last week paused its US sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
The order stemmed from a complaint made to the commission in mid-2021 accusing Apple of infringing on medical device maker company Masimo Corp's "light-based oximetry functionality."
"After careful consultations, Ambassador (Katherine) Tai decided not to reverse the... determination and the ITC's decision became final on Dec. 26, 2023," the president's executive office said in a statement on Tuesday.
Apple has been steadily ramping up fitness and health features with each generation of its Apple Watch, which dominates the smartwatch category.
In September, Apple released its Apple Watch Series 9, touting increased performance along with features such as the ability to access and log health data.
"Our teams work tirelessly to create products and services that empower users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features," Apple said when the ITC ban was issued.
"Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of US consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple."
In May, a trial of Masimo's allegations ended in a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
Late last year, Apple filed two patent infringement lawsuits accusing Masimo of copying Apple Watch technology.
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