Apple Pauses Some Watch Sales Over Intellectual Property Dispute

Apple is putting a temporary stop to the sale of two of its latest Apple Watch models, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, following a patent dispute over the Blood Oxygen feature. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued two orders requiring the halt, which will take effect on Thursday, December 21st.

The dispute centers around a patent held by Masimo, a medical technology company, related to the technology used in the Blood Oxygen feature. The ITC ruled that Apple infringed on this patent, potentially leading to a ban on imports and sales of the affected watches within the United States.

“We are disappointed with the ITC’s decision and will take all necessary steps to protect our intellectual property and ensure our customers can continue to benefit from our innovative products,” Apple said in a statement. “We remain confident in our position and will seek all available remedies, including appeals.”

The Blood Oxygen feature, introduced in the Apple Watch Series 6, measures the oxygen saturation levels in your blood. This can be helpful for people with certain health conditions, such as asthma or sleep apnea. While the feature has been praised for its potential health benefits, it has also faced some criticism for its accuracy.

The ITC’s ruling is a significant setback for Apple, which has seen strong sales of its Apple Watch line in recent years. The company is now left scrambling to find a way to resume sales of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models, either by redesigning the Blood Oxygen feature to avoid infringing on Masimo’s patent or by seeking a stay of the ITC’s orders.