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Apple Watch Temporarily Cleared for Sale in the US as Court Rules

Apple has won a reprieve to continue selling its Apple Watch in the U.S., which had been blocked due to a patent infringement dispute. The decision came as the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily suspended the import ban order of the International Trade Commission (ITC) while the lawsuit was ongoing.

On the 27th (local time), the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it would suspend the ITC’s import ban on Apple Watch products while the appeal process is underway.

This comes just a day after the Joe Biden administration accepted the ITC’s decision to ban the import of some models of the Apple Watch, prompting Apple to appeal immediately. Previously, in October, the ITC had ruled that Apple had infringed on the patent for blood oxygen measurement technology owned by medical technology company Masimo and ordered a ban on the import of Apple Watches containing this technology into the U.S. President Biden confirmed the import ban based on the review content of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

Given that the Apple Watch is produced in regions outside the U.S., such as China, the decision effectively amounts to a sales ban in the U.S. Apple had already halted the online and offline sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, which are related to the patent dispute, even before the government decision last week.

However, with the court siding with Apple’s appeal, sales of the Apple Watch are expected to resume within the next few weeks. Apple had requested the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to decide whether it infringes on Masimo’s patent and to temporarily suspend the import ban order while the lawsuit is ongoing. The ITC asked for sufficient time to respond to Apple’s request, expressing its opposition. The court set the deadline for the ITC to respond to Apple’s request to January 10th next year.

The market is evaluating Apple’s victory in the legal battle. Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said, “This is a big win for Apple that was unexpected by many given the legal issues involved in this patent battle,” adding, “Masimo now has a big fight ahead.” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Apple has received a reprieve for its $18 billion smartwatch business. The outlet highlighted that although Apple’s Apple Watch business accounts for only about 5% of total sales for the 2023 fiscal year, it plays a significant role in the growing healthcare business sector.

Bloomberg reported that Apple has been developing a software update for the Apple Watch related to the patent dispute and submitted it to U.S. authorities the day before. The U.S. government is scheduled to decide on the approval on January 12th next year.

By. Seul Gi Cho

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