Apple Asks Appeals Court To Reverse Apple Watch Import Ban

Apple Watch Import Ban

Apple is appealing a decision by a U.S. trade tribunal to ban imports of certain Apple Watches in a patent dispute with medical technology company Masimo.

Apple argues that the tribunal’s decision was based on flawed patent rulings and that Masimo failed to demonstrate investment in competing U.S. products justifying the ban.

Masimo, based in Irvine, California, alleges that Apple hired its employees and misappropriated its pulse oximetry technology following discussions about potential collaboration.

Pulse oximetry was first introduced to Apple Watches in 2020 with the Series 6 model.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) granted Masimo’s request to block imports of Apple’s Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches on December 26, citing patent infringement related to blood-oxygen level reading technology.

Apple temporarily resumed sales after obtaining a pause from the Federal Circuit, but the ban was reinstated in January.

In response, Apple removed pulse oximetry capabilities from watches sold during the appeal, expected to last at least a year.

However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection later determined that redesigned watch versions did not infringe Masimo’s patents and were not subject to the ban. Masimo confirmed that these watches do not contain pulse oximetry functionality.

Apple contends that Masimo’s wearable covered by the patents was hypothetical when the complaint was filed in 2021. Additionally, Apple argues that Masimo’s patents are invalid and that its watches do not infringe them.

The case reflects the ongoing legal battle between the two tech companies over intellectual property rights in the wearable technology sector.