Court Lifts Sales Halt on Apple Watch Models Amid Patent Dispute

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In a recent development, a federal court has temporarily lifted the sales halt imposed by the International Trade Commission (ITC) on two higher-end models of the Apple Watch. This move allows Apple to resume sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches, which were restricted by the ITC in October due to a patent dispute with medical technology company Masimo. The dispute revolves around specific technologies related to a blood-oxygen measurement system incorporated in the Apple Watch models.

Background of the Dispute

The ITC’s initial order aimed to prevent Apple from using the contested technologies, prompting the tech giant to halt online sales of the affected watches in the US last week, just days before the Christmas holiday. The court’s recent action has temporarily lifted this sales ban, providing relief to Apple while it awaits a final decision on the appeal it filed.

Resumption of Sales and Future Decisions

As a result of the court’s intervention, the two Apple Watch models will be available on Apple’s online store and select Apple stores. Sales are expected to resume fully, with wider availability anticipated by the coming Saturday. The court will continue to evaluate Apple’s appeal, and its decision on the potential permanent lifting of the sales ban will follow.

Previous Patent Challenges and Ongoing Legal Battles

This isn’t the first patent-related obstacle for the Apple Watch, as it transforms into a health-management device. In a similar case last year, the ITC ruled that Apple had infringed on the wearable EKG technology of AliveCor. However, another regulatory body determined that AliveCor’s technology wasn’t patentable, sparing Apple Watch sales from immediate impact. The legal proceedings on this matter are still ongoing.

Future Implications for Apple

With recurring patent challenges in the integration of medical technology into its watches, analysts predict that Apple may need to consider licensing deals or acquiring startups specializing in the field. Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives foresees a potential shift in strategy for Apple to navigate the evolving landscape of intellectual property disputes and emerging health technologies.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Tom’s Guide

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