Software update 'shouldn't' stop Apple Watch ban, but a settlement might

The unprecedented withdrawal of frontline, current-gen Apple Watch models due to a patent dispute reportedly has Apple rushing to get a software update out to keep the device on the US storefront over the holidays.

As things currently stand the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be removed from Apple Stores on December 21 after the International Trade Commission upheld a complaint from medical hardware maker Masimo.

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The company reckons the blood oxygen saturation tech within the Apple Watch infringes upon its proprietary technology. Specifically two patents. Apple disputes this but is removing the models in question from sale ahead of a potential intervention from the White House.

However, whether a software update will do enough to afford the watches a stay of execution is unclear. In fact, the CEO of Masimo Joe Kiani is convinced it wouldn’t be enough to resolve the dispute.

“I don’t think that could work — it shouldn’t — because our patents are not about the software,” he told Bloomberg. “They are about the hardware with the software.”

Instead, Kiani says he is open to Apple making efforts to settle the dispute, which would keep the Apple Watch models on sale in the US.

When asked if he would settle, Kiani said the “short answer is yes,” but also revealed Apple hasn’t called. “It takes two to tango,” he added. A settlement would require “honest dialogue” and an apology. He also offered to work with Apple “to improve their product” should an accord be reached.

The executive was quite pointed in his criticism of Apple’s tactics, which he also claimed involved trying to poach top staff.

“These guys have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar,” Kiani said. “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.”

Masimo also said Apple would have fewer problems with this issue if it’s products were made a little closer to home, as the import ban wouldn’t stand if Apple manufactured its products in the United States. Ouch.


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