The Apple Watch 9 and Ultra 2 might get banned again as the US International Trade Commission (ITC) hasn’t been fully convinced by Apple’s argument that the wearables should remain on sale.
MacRumors recently discovered a document written by ITC attorneys to the US Court of Appeals opposing the tech giant’s efforts to extend the pause on the Apple Watch ban. Right now, the smartwatch developer is appealing the case. The lawyers argue that “Apple [is presenting] a weak and unconvincing case” claiming the brand seeks to “continue infringing [on] the asserted patents.”
If you’re not very familiar with the story, the ITC ruled back in October that Apple had been infringing on patents held by health tech company Masimo. The patents are for the blood oxygen monitoring sensors on select Apple Watch models. As a result, the wearables could not be sold. The tech giant did indeed pull the products from physical store shelves and its online storefront for a few days back in late December. However, Apple successfully appealed the court’s decision and managed to get a pause on the ban.
Apple’s last chance
It is worth pointing out that Masimo extended an olive branch a few weeks ago. Masimo CEO Joe Kiani told Bloomberg he is willing to talk things out with Apple, settle with them, and maybe even “work with [the company] to improve their product.” It’s unknown how much money Kiani sought in the settlement.
Despite Masimo’s best efforts, the peace talks were met with total silence from Apple. Instead, it appears the brand would rather address the alleged infringement by themselves.
Reports from last month said Apple developers were working on an update that would disable blood oxygen monitoring on the smartwatches. These changes will need to be approved by the US Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) before being officially rolled out to users. This ruling should’ve already happened, at the time of this writing. However, when we checked CBP’s recent Decisions page, there was nothing on it relating to the Apple Watch.
ITC lawyers are, of course, aware of this tactic, going as far as to call Apple pinning its hopes on getting the right CBP ruling “misplaced”.
Potential ban coming soon
MacRumors goes on to say the Court of Appeals is currently accepting responses from outside parties who agree with the ITC until Monday, January 15. On that date, it’s possible both Apple Watch models will be banned for a second time. It’s hard to say for sure. If you want to know the full details of the situation, MacRumors published the ITC document on Scribd for free.
While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best smartwatches for 2024. You might need a new one.