Apple Challenges Smartwatch Ban Following White House Non-Intervention

According to the Bloomberg News report yesterday, Apple demands a ban that threatens its $17 billion smartwatch business. The tech giant filed a challenge to the ban imposed by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC)—the outcome of a patent controversy—at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Further, the report said Apple filed an emergency motion asking that the ban be stayed while the court considers the appeal. The move came after the White House, seen as Apple’s last hope in evading the ban, declined Tuesday to moderate. The judgment rested with Ambassador Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative.

The trade representative’s office said yesterday, “After careful talks, Ambassador Tai decided not to change the ITC’s decision, and the ITC’s determination became final on December 26, 2023. ”

The ITC in October ruled that the watch’s blood oxygen sensor had infringed on academic property from Masimo, a medical technology firm that sued Apple in 2020, alleging the company had misappropriated trade secrets related to health monitoring technology and poached key staff.

After the ITC order, Apple said that Masimo had “erroneously attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially life-saving product from millions of United States customers while making way for their smartwatch that copies Apple.”

Apple had petitioned that ruling, but the ITC denied that request last week, meaning that sales of the latest versions of the smartwatch — Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 — would cease. Earlier imported Apple Watches can be sold if stores still have them.

The Bloomberg report said that the ban’s timing means Apple won’t see a significant cut in its holiday sales, as most people completed their shopping before Christmas, while others might have sped to buy smartwatches when word of the regulations came down.

Masimo Founder and CEO Joe Kiani told Bloomberg last week that he would be open to recompensing with Apple but refused to say how much money he’d seek from Apple. Kiani said his company would “work with them to enhance their product” but added, “They haven’t called. It takes two to tango.”

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *