Apple to halt US sales of some Apple watches

Apple specifies to halt US-based sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from upcoming Thursday
The image displays a collection of Apples smartwatches. — Apple
The image displays a collection of Apple's smartwatches. — Apple

Tech giant Apple aims to pull the plug on the US-based sales of some smartwatches later this week as a result of one of the most severe disputes over patents in years.

In its report to CNN, the company confirmed and specified to halt the sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, starting Thursday on and from retail locations after December 24.

Apple has taken off the shelf one of its most popular products following the dispute over a blood oxygen feature by a medical device maker Masimo.

Read more: Apple Watch SE vs 8: Which one should you get?

Apple traditionally advertises its smartwatches as life-saving devices, a manner that has helped its Apple Watch become the most popular watch sold around the world. However, that calibre has come at stake and could be diminished by this dispute.

In October, the US International Trade Commission ruled that Apple was contravening Masimo’s pulse oximeter patent, which uses light-based technology to read blood oxygen levels. President Biden has 60 days to review the ruling before a ban could go into effect.

“While the review period will not end until December 25, Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand,” the company said in a statement.

“Apple strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers” added the statement.

Nevertheless, the company assures that, if the order stands, it will take all measures to bring back the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the US as soon as possible.

Other models will remain available for purchase, but an import ban would impact the Apple Watch Series 6 and later, and all models of Apple Watch Ultra imported after the end of an upcoming review period. However, it will not impact sales of the Apple Watch SE, according to Apple.

The Apple vs Masimo dispute

Apple strongly disagrees with the ITC's findings and intends to appeal the decision to the Federal Circuit. The company has presented evidence highlighting the adverse effects of a ban on healthcare, scientific, and medical research, as well as on Apple Watch users relying on health-related features such as ECG and blood oxygen monitoring.

Masimo CEO Joe Kiani believes the sales halt is a strategic move in the ongoing patent dispute, describing it as a deliberate infringement.

Although Apple hasn't sought a settlement, Kiani expressed willingness to resolve the case. The companies have a history of ongoing disputes, with Apple previously filing patent infringement lawsuits against Masimo in October.