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Apple Resumes Sale Of Series 9 And Ultra 2 Watches In America

Updated: Feb 5

According to a report from CNET, Apple resumes selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the US after halting sales due to an ongoing legal battle with health tech company Masimo over the blood oxygen detection feature. The feature is an important health monitoring tool and its availability is good news for users. However, the legal battle with Masimo remains a concern.

Previously, the US International Trade Commission issued an order that would have banned the import of Apple's Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches due to a patent dispute with Masimo. The decision was upheld by a US judge in January after Masimo claimed that Apple had infringed on its patents related to the blood oxygen sensing technology in the watches.

The order was under review by the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and became final on December 26 after the official decided not to reverse the ITC's decision.

On Wednesday, it appears that Apple took a temporary win. An Appeals Court has paused the ban, which granted Apple the ability to resume sales of the devices this week. According to Apple, the company expects the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to hear its motion as early as Jan. 15 regarding a stay that would last for the entire duration of the appeal.

Apple has resumed the sales of two of its most popular watches - Series 9 and Ultra 2. These watches are now available for purchase on Apple's website. In addition to this, Apple is also working on making changes to these watches to ensure their continued availability in the market.

"Apple strongly disagrees with the ITC's decision. In addition to the appeal at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Apple is vigorously pursuing legal and technical options to ensure that we can continue to provide consumers with Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, including having submitted a proposed redesigned Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 for US Customs approval," Apple's statement said.

As per Bloomberg, Apple has been making software changes to the blood oxygen detection feature of its Apple Watch. It is expected that the government will make a decision on January 12th regarding the adequacy of these updates. The Apple Watch has been a game-changer for the wearables industry and has played a significant role in making Apple's wearables, home, and accessories business one of its top product categories.

According to holiday shopping data from Adobe, smartwatches were among the most popular products sold during the Black Friday period.

Apple halted online sales of the affected watches on Dec. 21 and stopped in-store sales on Dec. 24, due to an ITC order that specifically applied to sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 through Apple in the United States. However, the watches remained on sale through Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart and Target. It is worth noting that the Apple Watch SE, which did not include a blood oxygen detection feature, was not affected by the order.

Apple issued the following statement in response to the initial ITC decision: 

"At Apple, we work tirelessly to create products and services that meaningfully impact users' lives. It's what drives our teams — Clinical, Design and Engineering — to dedicate years to developing scientifically validated health, fitness and wellness features for Apple Watch, and we are inspired that millions of people around the world have benefited greatly from this product. We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible."

Masimo CEO Joe Kiani had said the January decision "should help restore fairness in the market." 

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are on sale again at various retailers, including Apple. It seems that the ITC order only affected the US sales of these watches through Apple, but there could still be potential limitations on their availability if further restrictions are placed on their sale in the future. This was pointed out by 9to5Mac

Due to the order only applying to sales in the United States, the Series 9 and Ultra 2 were still available in markets beyond the US.

Best Buy and Walmart both confirmed that they would continue to offer the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2.

Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy continue to sell both watches through their websites.

At present, only the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are affected by a legal dispute involving the blood oxygen sensing technology used in the devices. The Apple Watch SE, which lacks certain health tracking capabilities such as blood oxygen sensing and ECG, continues to be sold as usual. Other non-SE Models, starting with Series 6 are also unaffected. 

The reason that Apple halted sales in the first place was due to accusations of patent infringement.

Masimo, a medical technology company, creates professional and consumer health products, including a smartwatch called the Masimo W1. The ITC order is certainly a significant development in the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Masimo, in which the Masimo accused Apple of infringing on its pulse oximeter patents.

I heard that Apple is taking measures to permanently resume the sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2. They are exploring legal and technical options for this purpose. It seems that they are awaiting the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to review their motion for a stay on the temporary lifting of the sales ban. The hearing is expected to take place soon, possibly on January 15. Apple is hoping that the sales will be allowed throughout the entire duration of their appeal.

In addition to pursuing legal and technical options to resume sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, Apple is also working on a redesign to avoid infringing on Masimo's patents. According to Reuters, the customs office will review and issue a ruling on this proposed redesign on January 12. It remains to be seen whether this effort will be successful in resolving the patent dispute between the two companies.

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