There is an ongoing ITC situation with the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. This has led to a brief prohibition on the sale of the devices in the United States. The ITC decided that the blood oxygen sensor of the Apple Watch infringes on two patents held by medical device company Masimo.
Even though Apple continues to sell the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States, the blood oxygen features have been disabled due to the ITC ruling.
Is it still possible to purchase an Apple Watch with blood oxygen features from other retailers?
For the time being, you can still purchase an Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from third-party retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, and they will still include the blood oxygen app and features.
This decision from the ITC only affects Apple’s ability to sell the Series 9 and Ultra 2 via its online store and retail stores.
January 18, 2024:
Apple officially starts selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without the blood oxygen features. If you already own an Apple Watch with the blood oxygen features, this change does not impact you. This change only applies to devices in the United States.
“Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 no longer include the Blood Oxygen feature,” reads the banner applied to the checkout flow for both model watches on Apple’s website.
Apple is still appealing the initial ITC ruling. The process is expected to take over a year. It’s unclear if any interim solution will be reached that allows Apple to begin selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 with the blood oxygen features.
January 17, 2024:
The US appeals court denies Apple’s request to pause the ban for the duration of its appeal of the ITC’s ruling. The US appeals court says Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 with blood oxygen features will be banned from sale in the United States again, effective 5:00 pm ET on January 18, 2024.
Apple responds and says it will continue selling the devices with the blood oxygen features disabled.
January 15, 2024:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection rules that Apple’s redesign falls outside the scope of the ITC ruling. Apple’s redesign, however, is to remove the pulse oximetry features from newly sold devices.
This means that U.S. Customs has found the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 do not infringe on Masimo patents so long as they don’t “contain pulse oximetry features.”
For now, Apple will continue to sell the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 with pulse oximetry features. Meanwhile, we still await the decision from the US appeals court on Apple’s request to pause the Apple Watch ban throughout the entire duration of the appeals process.
January 10, 2024:
The ITC voices its opposition to Apple’s request to pause the Apple Watch sales ban throughout the duration of its appeal of the initial ITC decision.
December 28, 2023:
The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 return to Apple’s Online Store after a week of unavailability.
December 27, 2023:
Apple’s appeal for a pause of the Apple Watch ban was granted thanks to the US appeals court. The pause runs through January 10. Apple has also submitted a software update that it believes will resolve the issue, but a decision on whether that software fix adequately addresses the two patents won’t be made until January 12.
December 26, 2023:
The Biden Administration formally announced its decision to uphold the ITC’s ruling, officially banning Apple from selling the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 in the United States.
In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple reiterated that it strongly disagrees with the ITC’s decision and is working on every possible solution to bring the devices back to the market. The company also formally filed an appeal.
December 24, 2023:
At the end of the business day, Apple halted retail sales of the two flagship Apple Watch models in question. The company instead will focus on the Apple Watch SE as the ITC case continues to play out.
December 22, 2023:
December 21, 2023
The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are removed from Apple’s website in the United States. We also learned more details about how the ban impacts Apple’s ability to service and replace damaged devices.
December 20, 2023:
The ITC denied one of Apple’s last-ditch attempts to have the Apple Watch ban delayed.
December 19, 2023:
The White House confirmed that it was monitoring the situation and that Katerine Tai, the United States Trade Representative, was “carefully considering all of the factors in this case.”
Masimo CEO Joe Kiani reiterated that the company is open to a settlement with Apple, but that Apple would have to come to the table for negotiations to even begin.
December 18, 2023:
9to5Mac broke the news about Apple’s plans to preemptively halt Apple Watch sales via its online and retail stores. Bloomberg reported that Apple engineers are scrambling to develop a software workaround that would circumvent the two Masimo patents at the heart of this case.
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