The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued a ruling preventing Apple from selling watches equipped with blood oxygen sensors, effective from Thursday.
The sales ban is a consequence of an ongoing intellectual property dispute between Apple and Masimo, a medical device company. In October, the ITC determined that Apple’s blood oxygen sensors violated Masimo’s intellectual property rights. Although Apple’s shares experienced a slight decline in Wednesday afternoon trading, the court’s decision did not delve into the merits of Apple’s appeal against the ITC ban.
The ban specifically prevents Apple from importing two models, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, which include the disputed blood oxygen sensors. In December, Apple took a proactive step by temporarily removing these watches from its online and retail stores. However, existing stocks held by retailers can still be sold. Recent court filings suggested that Apple has obtained approval from U.S. Customs for a modified version of its Apple Watches, excluding the blood oxygen feature. This modification could potentially pave the way for the return of a revised Apple Watch to U.S. store shelves, though Apple has not commented on the Customs decision.
Masimo’s claims against Apple go beyond intellectual property infringement. The medical device company has accused Apple of recruiting several of its top executives and copying its technology after a declined partnership. Masimo CEO Joe Kiani expressed openness to settling with Apple in a recent statement to CNBC.
The ongoing legal battle has significant implications for Apple, not only in terms of sales restrictions but also potentially complicating device repairs at Apple stores, where broken devices are often swapped with replacements. The resolution of this dispute remains uncertain as both companies navigate the complex terrain of intellectual property conflicts and corporate competition.