Apple Loses Bid to Delay Apple Watch Sales Ban in U.S.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has rejected Apple’s request to delay a sales ban on its latest Apple Watch models.

This decision, announced on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, is a significant development in the ongoing patent infringement case involving light-based physiological measurement devices (via The Verge).

The investigation, initiated on August 18, 2021, followed a complaint by California-based Masimo Corporation and Cercacor Laboratories, Inc., alleging that Apple infringed on multiple patents. These patents, identified as U.S. Patent Nos. 10,912,501; 10,912,502; 10,945,648; 10,687,745; and 7,761,127, relate to specific light-based physiological measurement technologies.

In January 2023, the presiding administrative law judge found Apple in violation of section 337 regarding certain claims of the patents. Subsequently, on October 26, 2023, the USITC issued its final determination, confirming Apple’s violation of specific patent claims. The Commission imposed a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order against Apple, restricting the importation of infringing devices and components.

Apple’s motion, filed on October 30, 2023, sought to stay these orders pending the outcome of their appeal or in light of a potential government shutdown. However, the USITC, after considering the arguments, decided to deny this motion. The Commission’s decision was made without relying on additional materials requested by the Complainants for judicial notice.

What does this mean? The latest Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will no longer be available for purchase from Apple Stores and the online store in the U.S., starting on December 26, 2023. But official Apple resellers will still be able to sell existing Apple Watch inventory.

Apple’s only hope now is for President Joe Biden to overturn ITC decision, but that appears to be unlikely. This sales ban doesn’t affect the Apple Watch in Canada, so Americans should just come here to buy their devices at a discount (thanks to forex rates).

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