Apple Watch models pulled after White House declines to veto ban

Steven Loeb · December 26, 2023 · Short URL:

The ITC banned Apple from importing its watches over patent violations earlier this year

Two Apple Watches will not be coming back to shelves as the White House declined to overturn a ban on certain Apple Watch imports into the U.S. on Tuesday. This comes less than a week after the International Trade Commission turned down the company's bid to delay the ban.

The issue stems from a lawsuit from medical technology company Masimo stretching back to 2020, in which the company sued Apple, accusing of poaching employees and of stealing trade secrets in regards to its light-based technology for measuring blood-oxygen levels. 

"On October 26, 2023, the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Apple, Inc. infringed two patents owned by Masimo Corporation and Cercacor Laboratories, Inc, both based in the United States," the White House wrote in a press release.

"Since 2005, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has been delegated the President’s authority under Section 337 of the Trade Act of 1930 to review the ITC’s decision for a 60-day period. After careful consultations, Ambassador Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s determination and the ITC’s decision became final on December 26, 2023."

Apple counter-sued Masimo in 2022, alleging the company copied their technology. Masimo's lawsuit against Apple ended in a mistrial in May.

The ban affects the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models, while other models that include the blood oxygen feature, including the Apple Watch SE, will still be available for purchase. Apple had pulled the models off of its website on Thursday, and the devices were taken off of retail stores on December 24. 

“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,” Apple said in a statement to CNN.

“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.”

CNN also reports that the company has filed an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court to overturn the ruling, while also submitting a redesign of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches for U.S. Customs approval.

VatorNews has reached out to Apple for comment. We will update this story if we learn more.

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