Finding the newest Apple Watch models in the US will get much more difficult in the near future. In an effort to avoid potentially becoming embroiled in one of the biggest patent disputes in recent memory, Apple announced on Monday that it will cease selling certain models of its best-selling smartwatch starting later this week.
The decision to take an exceptionally well-liked product off store shelves was prompted by an International Trade Commission decision that found Apple to be infringing on the patent of the medical company Masimo’s pulse oximeter. That technology measures blood oxygen levels by means of light. In 2020, the Apple Watch Series 6 introduced a pulse oximeter feature that made use of that technique.
Now that the decision has been vetoed by President Joe Biden during a review period, Apple may have to face the prospect of having these models banned unless the company makes significant changes to the way the Apple Watch functions. Apple stated that it is “preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand” by removing some, even though the review period doesn’t end until December 25.
Here’s a closer look at all the information you require:
Which models won’t be available?
Apple informed CNN that, as of Thursday, it will no longer be selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the US online or at physical stores after December 24.
While some models will still be on sale, others will become more difficult to find if an import ban is approved. This would cover all Apple Watch Ultra models as well as those released after Series 6. Apple claims that a ban won’t affect sales of the Apple Watch SE. Best Buy, among other retailers, told CNN that it still intends to sell the devices.
Apple stated that it will “continue to take all measures” to make the order available for customers “as soon as possible” if it remains in place.
Why is Apple acting in this way?
Apple’s decision to remove one of its best-selling products from the market comes after a prolonged legal battle with Masimo regarding the product’s blood oxygen functionality. After the ITC discovered that multiple Apple Watches violated Masimo’s pulse oximeter patents almost two months ago, a review period was instituted, during which Apple could either reach a licensing agreement with Masimo or file an appeal to override the ban.
According to Masimo CEO Joe Kiani, he is open to both a licensing agreement and a settlement, but Apple has not contacted the company about either.
Apple, meanwhile, declared its unwavering belief that the ITC’s conclusions are false and ought to be overturned. Additionally, it intends to appeal the ruling to the Federal Circuit. Furthermore, Apple claimed to have presented data showing how a ban would have a detrimental effect on scientific and medical research, healthcare, and Apple Watch users who depend on the ECG, blood oxygen level, and other health-related functions.
According to Kiani, the decision to stop selling the devices is just the most recent blow in the ongoing patent battle. Additionally, Masimo has claimed in court that prior to the release of Apple’s W1 medical wristwatch in May 2022, the company stole the work of over twenty-two of its employees.
When the manufacturer of Apple Watches filed two lawsuits alleging Masimo had copied patented Apple Watch features for its W1 device, the entanglements became even more intense last year.
President Biden is involved; why?
A prohibition may not take effect until after President Biden has had 60 days to review the ITC’s decision. Presidents have had to intervene on behalf of Apple in patent disputes before.
Does Apple care about this?
Apple’s reputation is at risk, according to Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager at market research firm IDC. He remarked, “It’s not a good look.” “Sales in the first quarter of next year may be impacted, but nobody wants to be found infringing on patents,” in the end.