Apple to Stop Selling Some Apple Watch in the US Amid Patent Dispute


Apple to Stop Selling Some Apple Watch in the US Amid Patent Dispute

So, Apple’s gearing up to pull the plug on selling a couple of Apple Watch versions in the US, maybe even this week. Why? To get a jump on what might turn out to be a huge patent brawl.

Apple Watch: What’s Going Down

Starting Thursday on Apple and after December 24 in stores, you won’t find the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 up for grabs. Why the sudden stop? It’s all tied to a tiff with medical device maker Masimo over their blood oxygen feature.

Apple Watch: The Beef Between Apple and Masimo

Apple’s been flaunting its smartwatch as a life-saving gadget, which has helped it become a global sensation. But this spat with Masimo is throwing a wrench in the works. The US International Trade Commission ruled that Apple trespassed Masimo pulse oximeter patent, a tech that reads blood-oxygen levels using light-based methods.

President Biden’s got 60 days to mull over the ruling before a ban kicks in. Apple’s playing it safe, saying, “We’re making moves just in case the ruling sticks.”

What’s Apple Saying?

Apple’s not thrilled with the ruling, vowing to fight it tooth and nail through legal and technical means. But here’s the kicker: if the ban stays, they’re determined to hustle and get those watches back to US customers pronto.

Which Watches Are Safe?

Don’t worry, other models are still up for grabs, like the Apple Watch Series 6 and later, and all Apple Watch Ultra editions imported before a review deadline. The Apple Watch SE is in the clear, though. Phew!

What About the Series 9?

Apple’s Series 9, rolled out in September, packs some cool features like the S9 chip for speed and hand gesture controls. But with this showdown looming, its future’s looking uncertain.

The Ongoing Battle

Apple’s sticking to its guns, arguing that the ITC’s got it wrong and they’ll hit up the Federal Circuit. Plus, they’re arguing how a ban could really mess up healthcare, research, and all those users depending on the watch’s health features.

Masimo’s CEO Joe Kiani sees this sales pause as a jab in their patent clash, calling it a deliberate move to pressure Biden. He’s open to settling, but Apple hasn’t made any moves in that direction.

The History of Disputes

These two have been at it for a while. Last year, Apple flung two patent infringement lawsuits at Masimo, claiming they ripped off Apple Watch stuff for their own smartwatch.

Financial Ripples

David McQueen from ABI Research thinks leaving the watches on shelves until December 24 might soften the blow financially. He reckons it could give folks a chance to snag them before Christmas, possibly keeping Apple’s sales from taking a huge hit.

Apple moved about 49 million watches in 2022 and nearly 26.7 million in the first 9 months of 2023. McQueen’s keeping an eye on how long this feud will drag on and whether Apple’s going to flex its financial muscle to resolve it.

Wrapping It Up

So, Apple’s halting sales of a couple of Apple Watch versions due to this legal tug-of-war. It’s a waiting game to see how this plays out and whether it’ll affect your chances of grabbing the latest tech for your wrist anytime soon.