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Apple Watches to be banned from sale once again on Thursday

Stock image of Apple Watch Series 9

Apple continues to be in a battle with the U.S. International Trade Commission over the sale of both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the U.S. because of an ongoing intellectual property dispute with Masimo regarding the blood oxygen sensors in the devices.

Both watches were originally banned from sale in December due to this dispute, and showed as "currently unavailable" on Apple's website during this time. Since then, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a request by Apple to temporarily lift the import ban on the devices on December 27, 2023.

Unfortunately for Apple, the same Court of Appeals has reportedly issued a new court order to lift an injunction which had blocked the ban from taking effect while the appeal is pending. This means that the devices will likely return to the same "currently unavailable" status that was seen late last year.

The dispute that Masimo, a medical device company, had with Apple is that it had allegedly poached several top executives and therefore copied its technology after declining a partnership with the company. Masimo CEO Joe Kiani told CNBC in December that he would be open to settling with Apple to resolve the dispute however Apple has yet to respond to this.

As the debate continues on, Apple is reported to be making changes to both the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 models to remove the pulse oximeter functionality from both devices that are only sold in the U.S. Other regions would still get the existing model without any interruptions to availability.

The import ban does not affect the Apple Watch SE, which does not contain the blood oxygen sensor that the Series 9 and Ultra 2 have. Previous models which are no longer on sale are not affected either, but the ban could make repairs and replacements more difficult for Apple under AppleCare, being unable to get supply for this service.

Source: CNBC

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