As expected, Apple is appealing the import ban, which forced it to remove two flagship models from sale in the United States during the busy holiday shopping period.
Both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are currently unavailable from the Apple Store in the US because of an International Trade Commission ruling that the smartwatch’s blood oxygen sensor technology infringes on patents held by the medical device maker Masimo.
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Apple had taken precautionary action in removing the watches from sale in the hope of a reprieve from the White House, which could have vetoed the import ban. However, the Biden Administration chose not to intervene and thus Apple cannot currently sell its own best timepieces.
Now Apple is lodging an appeal against the USITC’s decision with the US Customs and Border Protection agency, claiming the exclusion order is causing the company to “suffer irreparable harm”.
“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 said in a statement first reported by Reuters.
Apple had previously hoped that a software fix might negate the issue and allow it to keep the Apple Watch models on sale, but both Masimo and the ITC argued this was a hardware issue and no changes to how the software operated would change that.
After the ruling Masimo CEO said: “These guys have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. This is not an accidental infringement — this is a deliberate taking of our intellectual property. I am glad the world can now see we are the true inventors and creators of these technologies.”
It’s not clear how long the appeal will take and whether Apple can find a way to have the ban lifted in the interim.