Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 Sales Facing Potential Halt in the US Due to Patent Dispute
The future availability of Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in the United States hangs in the balance following a ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) in a patent dispute with medical technology company Masimo.
The dispute revolves around Masimo's claims that Apple Watch's blood oxygen sensor technology infringes on several of its patents.
The ITC ruling imposes a potential ban on sales, prompting Apple to consider a software fix to address the alleged patent violations.
According to an Apple statement to 9to5Mac, orders for the Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 on the company's US website will cease after 3 pm ET on Thursday, December 21.
In-store inventory from Apple retail locations will also be unavailable after December 24. While the ITC ruling prevents Apple from selling the affected products, they may still be accessible through other channels like Amazon and Best Buy.
However, if the ban takes effect after December 25, even sales to resellers could be impacted, leading to a potential shortage.
In anticipation of the ban, Apple, as reported by Bloomberg, is reportedly working on modifying algorithms and software related to blood oxygen monitoring on the Watch Ultra 2 and Watch Series 9 models.
Apple aims to alter how the technology measures oxygen saturation and presents the data to users.
The ITC judge initially ruled in January that Apple infringed on one of Masimo's five patents related to the use of light sensors for blood oxygen measurement.
Apple contested the decision, seeking a full review. In October, the ITC issued an order that could prevent the import of the affected Apple Watches, effectively imposing a ban.
The ongoing 60-day Presidential Review Period, set to conclude on December 25, provides an opportunity for US President Joe Biden to intervene and potentially overturn the ITC ban.
Apple's preemptive announcement aligns with compliance with the ITC ruling. If the ban takes effect, only the sale of Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 models equipped with blood oxygen sensors will be affected, with lower-end models like the Apple Watch SE remaining unaffected.