Apple Watch U.S. Sales Ban Temporarily Paused by Court

The sales ban on the latest Apple Watch models in the U.S. has been paused temporarily, as Apple has won a ruling in court on Wednesday.

According to Bloomberg, Apple won a temporary pause on the US International Trade Commission ban, issued by an appellate court in Washington. The ban affected Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models.

The legal dispute between Apple and Masimo, a notable medical device maker, has intensified following an email sent by Marcelo Lamego to Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2013, reveals Bloomberg in a separate story.

Lamego, who was the chief technical officer of Cercacor Laboratories, a Masimo affiliate, pitched a groundbreaking idea in his email. “I strongly believe that we can develop the new wave of technology that will make Apple the No. 1 brand in the medical, fitness, and wellness market,” he wrote.

This email set in motion a chain of events, with Apple contacting Lamego within 10 hours and subsequently hiring him to work on a smartwatch equipped with health sensors. However, Lamego’s tenure at Apple was marked by challenges.

According to a deposition by Steve Hotelling, a senior Apple executive, Lamego had difficulties integrating into Apple’s corporate culture. He reportedly clashed with managers, demanded large budgets, and sought autonomy in hiring decisions, ultimately leading to his resignation from Apple in July 2014, just months after his arrival.

Masimo alleges that during his time at Apple, Lamego misappropriated crucial technology related to blood-oxygen level measurement, which later became a pivotal feature in the Apple Watch. The technology, Masimo claims, was developed at Masimo and Cercacor and was integral to their operations.

Lawyers for Masimo argue that Lamego’s expertise in neural interfaces prior to joining Masimo did not encompass the blood-oxygen feature, suggesting he acquired this knowledge at Masimo and Cercacor before transferring it to Apple.

The legal ramifications of Lamego’s email and subsequent employment at Apple have been significant. The U.S. International Trade Commission has imposed an import ban on certain Apple Watch models, siding with Masimo’s claims of patent infringement. Apple strongly disagrees with the decision and is working on measures to resume sales of the affected models in the U.S., which we just saw on Wednesday. Looks like this legal game of cat and mouse continues.

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