Biden Drops Bombshell On Apple Watch Ban

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

( – The Biden administration opted not to overrule a prohibition on importing certain models of the Apple Watch into the United States, allowing the ban to take effect this Tuesday.

This decision follows an October 26th affirmation by the International Trade Commission (ITC) of a previous ruling in January. The ruling was in favor of Masimo, a medical technology firm, which had brought a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in 2021 at the ITC concerning the Apple Watch Series 6.

Masimo alleged that Apple had engaged in unethical practices, including hiring away its employees and misappropriating trade secrets. These accusations were centered around the technology used in the Apple Watch Series 6 for measuring blood-oxygen levels using light.

The legal battle between Masimo and Apple began with Masimo’s lawsuit in federal court in 2020, which concluded in a mistrial in May. In response, Apple filed a countersuit against Masimo, accusing them of replicating its technology.

The Biden administration had a 60-day window to decide whether to veto the ITC’s import ban. However, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives announced on Tuesday that it would not intervene, letting the ban proceed.

In their statement, the office explained that the U.S. Trade Representative, under the authority delegated since 2005, had conducted thorough consultations before deciding not to overturn the ITC’s decision. As a result, the ban became final on December 26, 2023.

Apple, as reported by Reuters, plans to appeal the ruling. The company had previously stated its intent to ensure that the affected Apple Watch models would be available to customers as quickly as possible if the ban were enforced.

In anticipation of the ban, Apple had started taking necessary compliance measures. The company expressed strong disagreement with the order and stated its commitment to exploring all legal and technical avenues to keep the Apple Watch available in the U.S. market.

Currently, the ban impacts only the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. According to Apple, the Apple Watch SE and other models featuring the blood oxygen sensor are not subject to the ban.

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