The Apple Watch Ban: Understanding US Import Restrictions

The story began when Apple launched its Apple Watch Series 9 with the ability to access and log more precise health data. But the US import ban on certain Apple smartwatch models was effective from 26th December, Tuesday after the confirmation of the Biden administration not to forbid patent infringements. The United States International Trade Commission or ITC previously decided to ban the Apple Watch latest series over a patent technology that can accurately detect blood oxygen levels. On the other side, Apple is continuously saying that the finding of ITC is an error and it should be reversed. But due to this ban, last Christmas week sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 were paused. Now iPhone makers are saying, due to their huge losses, they will appeal the decision in a US Federal Court.

Apple Watch Ban

All problems arose when a complaint against Apple was launched in Mid-2021. Masimo Corp, a medical health device maker company, accused Apple of infringing on “light-based oximetry functionality”. Masimo demanded they invented the technology and Apple poached their employees with the power of money. These employees helped Apple to access advanced health knowledge. The US Trade Representative said on Tuesday that, after careful consultation, Ambassador Katherine Tai decided not to reverse this decision. She confirmed ITC’s decision as a final verdict on 26th December 2023.

The US president has the authority to reverse the ban decision. And when the name Apple comes, the trading world is expecting the president’s involvement in this matter. But in other cases, it is rarely seen that the president wants to reverse the ban. Ignoring the allegation of Masimo Corp, the Apple watch series 9 was launched in September with increased performance ability, especially focused on health and fitness.

In a statement, the officials of Apple said on Tuesday that they strongly disagreed with the ITC decision. ITC is taking all measures to return all Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 series from the US market. At the time of this decision, Apple said, Masimo had wrongly attempted to use the US ITC. Apple added, that they hold a highly potential product that can save millions of US consumers from many health-related problems. Apple suspected Masimo Corp would make a mock product that would be a copy of this technology of fitness.

It is noted That, last year Apple filed two patent infringement cases against Masimo, accusing it of copying Apple technology. But in November, Masimo was freed by the US Government. But still, Apple is arguing that the company is using this ban to make a way to enter the market with Apple watch-inspired products. Now what will be the next step by both of them- time will decide the rest.

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