Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Sales Halt Imminent
In a major setback for Apple, the International Trade Commission (ITC) has ordered a potential ban on the sale of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models in the U.S. This move comes as a result of a patent infringement dispute, and Apple’s bid to delay the ban has been unsuccessful.
ITC Order Cites Patent Infringement
The ITC order, issued in October, alleges that Apple’s oxygen sensor infringes on patents held by medical tech giant Masimo. This dispute centers around the blood oxygen monitoring feature in recent Apple Watches.
Sales Pause Timeline
From December 21 for online sales and December 23 for in-store purchases, Apple will cease selling the affected models. Retailers can still sell previously imported Apple Watches if they have existing stock.
White House Intervention Critical
With Apple’s unsuccessful bid to delay the ban, the last hope lies in White House intervention. President Joe Biden has the authority to veto the ban, but there is no indication from the White House on whether this will happen.
Masimo’s CEO, Joe Kiani, accuses Apple of engaging in talks and later poaching technical staff, leading to the patent infringement claims. The potential ban poses a significant threat to one of Apple’s most lucrative products. Source: CNBC
Sales Halt: Impact on Apple’s Market and Holiday Shopping
If the ITC decision stands, it could significantly impact Apple’s sales during a crucial shopping period, especially in its largest market, the U.S. This setback emphasizes the importance of resolving intellectual property disputes to avoid disruptions in product availability.
Existing Inventory Exemption
While Apple faces a sales pause, retailers with existing inventory, such as Target and Best Buy, can continue selling the products. However, an import ban affecting Apple’s ability to bring more units into the U.S. adds to the challenges.
President Biden’s Decision Awaited
President Biden’s decision to uphold or veto the ITC ruling within the 60-day review period, ending on December 25, remains uncertain. Apple is actively exploring legal and technical options to address the issue and resume sales, focusing on modifying the blood oxygen monitoring feature.
The potential ban casts a shadow over the future of Apple’s latest smartwatches, and the tech giant faces an uphill battle to navigate this patent dispute. The outcome will impact Apple’s financials and serve as a precedent for future intellectual property conflicts in the tech industry.