In a significant victory, a US appeals court has temporarily lifted the import ban on Apple Watches, allowing the tech giant to resume sales of its latest models. The ban was imposed after an International Trade Commission (ITC) order found that the blood oxygen sensor in the watches infringed on the intellectual property rights of medical technology company Masimo. Despite the Biden administration’s refusal to halt the ban, Apple filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and successfully obtained a temporary stay order.
The court filing Wednesday granted a temporary stay order, pausing the Remedial Orders that prohibited Apple from selling its Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches. This means that Apple may now be able to sell its latest Apple Watch models during the peak holiday season, which is a crucial period for the company. Apple Watch sales play a significant role in its wearables business, which generated $39.8 billion in sales in Apple’s fiscal year 2023, ending in September.
While Apple emerges as a clear winner with the temporary reprieve, Masimo, the medical technology company, has suffered a setback. The announcement of the lifting of the ban caused a decline of over 6% in Masimo’s share value during Wednesday’s trading session. On the other hand, Apple’s stock remained flat, indicating that the market reacted positively to the news.
During the ban, Apple had halted the sale of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches on its website. However, these models were still available from other retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, as long as they had existing stock. It is essential to note that the ban did not affect the sale of the Apple Watch SE, an older model that does not include a blood oxygen sensor.
Apple’s legal battle against Masimo is far from over. The ITC, the entity responsible for the ban, now needs to respond to Apple’s appeal by January 10th. The tech giant is striving for a longer stay order to continue selling its potentially infringing models. The outcome of the appeal will directly impact Apple’s ability to sell its latest Apple Watches in the long term. Moreover, it will have broader implications for intellectual property disputes affecting wearable technology in the healthcare sector.
The temporary lifting of the import ban on Apple Watches provides a significant boost for the company, allowing it to resume sales of its latest models at a critical time of the year. While this is undoubtedly a victory for Apple, the ongoing legal battle with Masimo highlights the intricate relationship between technology and intellectual property rights. As the case unfolds, the outcome will shape the future landscape of wearable technology and IP protection in the healthcare industry.