The Apple Watch Prohibition in the United States has been Upheld

After the Biden administration declined to overturn an earlier finding by the International Trade Commission, a recent US ban on Apple Watch imports will remain in effect. The ITC decision takes effect today.

In anticipation of the restriction, Apple had paused sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, suspending online sales on December 21 and in-store sales three days later.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative stated this morning, “After careful consultations, Ambassador [Katherine] Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s determination, and the ITC’s decision became final on December 26, 2023.”

Apple has categorically denied the health tech company Masimo’s patent infringement charges, which are at the heart of the ban. Apple promotes the device’s healthcare features in a statement supplied to TechCrunch while promising to continue challenging the decision:

At Apple, we work tirelessly to develop products and services that have a positive impact on the lives of our customers. It’s what motivates our Clinical, Design, and Engineering teams to spend years developing scientifically verified health, fitness, and wellness features for Apple Watch, and we’re inspired by the fact that millions of people across the world have benefited immensely from this product. We strongly disagree with the USITC ruling and the resulting exclusion order, and we are working hard to get the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 back to customers in the United States as quickly as possible.

Apple has also filed an appeal with the Federal Circuit Court. The decision is based on a light-based pulse oximetry sensor that was launched on the Watch Series 6 in 2020. Apple has also been accused of poaching employees in order to bring the technology to its smartwatch line, according to Masimo.

Masimo founder/CEO Joe Kiani stated in a statement issued shortly after the October ITC judgement, “Today’s ruling by the USITC sends a powerful message that even the world’s largest company is not above the law.” This significant decision validates our efforts to hold Apple accountable for illegally misappropriating our patented technology.”

While the Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 are currently prohibited in the United States, they are still available for purchase outside of the country. Meanwhile, the Watch SE is still available in the United States, as the less expensive model does not use the same sensor technology.

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