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Apple Watch import ban paused by US appeals court

A couple of days after the Apple Watch ban in the U.S. took effect, the company won a bid to pause this sanction thanks to an emergency request to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to halt ITC’s decision that Apple had infringed Masimo’s patent.

In the document, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit says the commission “respectfully requests a five-day extension from January 5, 2024, to January 10, 2024, to file its response” to the motion for a stay pending appeal.

That said, “while the interim stay is in effect, Apple must comply with the same bond requirements set forth by the Commission in the Remedial Orders governing the Presidential Review Period.”

UPDATE | 5:39 p.m. ET: Apple has told multiple publications that Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 sales will be available in some Apple stores today and in more stores on Saturday. You will also be able to buy the two models online by 3 p.m. ET tomorrow.

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“Apple’s teams have worked tirelessly over many years to develop technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features and we are pleased the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stayed the exclusion order while it considers our request to stay the order pending our full appeal,” Apple’s Nikki Rothberg told The Verge.

Background

Last week, Apple announced it would comply with the International Trade Commission, which agreed with Masimo Corp that the Cupertino firm was infringing two of Masimo’s blood oxygen patents.

At the time, Apple said it would halt Apple Watch online sales on December 21 and physical sales on December 24. The company’s last resort was for the Biden Administration to revoke the ITC’s ruling, which didn’t happen.

Today, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman published a story explaining how a 10-year-old email might have led to the Apple Watch ban.

According to the journalist, about ten years ago, before the Apple Watch was even announced, Stanford engineering Marcelo Lamego sent a late-night email to Tim Cook saying: “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.”

A few weeks later, Lamego was hired by Apple. In a few months, he filed about a dozen patents on sensors and blood-oxygen algorithms from a wearable device. Then, in July 2014, he left the company.

As reported by Bloomberg, this email, in addition to the patents from Lamego, led Masimo to sue Apple. Even though these patents were published years before Apple introduced the blood oxygen sensor with the Apple Watch Series 6, this is the reason why Cupertino is facing this issue now.

BGR will keep updating this story as we learn more about the future of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 sales in the U.S.

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