Apple on Tuesday appealed a decision to ban imports of its watches based on a complaint from medical monitoring technology company Masimo after U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration declined to veto a government tribunal, Reuters reported.
According to Reuters, the tech giant also filed an emergency request on Tuesday for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to halt the ban.
It asked the Federal Circuit to pause the ban at least until U.S. Customs and Border Protection decides whether redesigned versions of its watches infringe Masimo’s patents, and to put the ban on hold while the court considers Apple’s request. The customs office is due to make its decision on Jan. 12, Apple said.
Masimo has accused Apple of hiring away its employees, stealing its pulse oximetry technology and incorporating it into the popular Apple Watch, according to Reuters.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) order bars imports and sales of Apple Watches that use technology for reading blood-oxygen levels. Apple has included the pulse oximeter feature in its smart watches starting with Series 6 model in 2020.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative posted the following on December 26:
USTR Statement on Section 337 Review
“On October 26, 2023, the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Apple, Inc. infringed two patents owned by Masimo Corporation and Cercacor Laboratories, Inc., both based in the United States. Since 2005, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has been delegated by the President’s authority under Section 337 of the Trade Act of 1930 to review the ITC’s decision for a 60-day period. After careful consultations, Ambassador Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s determination and the ITC’s decision became final on December 26, 2023.”
9TO5Mac posted a statement it received from Apple about this decision:
“At Apple, we work tirelessly to create products and services that meaningfully impact users’ lives. It’s what drives our teams – Clinical, Design, and Engineering – to dedicate years to developing scientifically validated health, fitness and wellness features for Apple Watch, and we are inspired that millions of people around the world have benefitted greatly from this product. We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.”
In my opinion, it seems that Apple would strongly prefer that it be allowed go ahead and bring in its newest Apple Watch to market in the United States. Unfortunately, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the Biden Administration, appear to not be inclined to cater to Apple’s concerns.