A few months after releasing the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, Apple will need to stop selling these smartwatches in the United States due to a legal battle. It’s the first time a major Apple product, such as the Apple Watch, has been banned from the US market for legal reasons. In 2013, the iPhone was almost banned due to a Samsung patent infringement, but President Obama vetoed it.
According to a statement sent by Apple to 9to5Mac, the company will stop selling these smartwatches as soon as 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 21, while in-store inventory won’t be available from physical Apple locations after December 24.
Apple Watch ban background: What happened?
In October, the US International Trade Commission agreed that Apple infringed two of Masimo’s blood oxygen patents. This decision was sent to Biden’s Administration for the Presidential Review Period, which expires December 25.
Biden could revoke ITC’s decision or comply – but we don’t have an answer just yet. For that, Apple has made this announcement to “preemptively” start to comply with ITC’s decision. This Apple Watch ban only affects the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
The Apple Watch SE 2 is out of this ban since it doesn’t have a blood oxygen feature. Older watches with this feature aren’t banned, as Apple no longer sells them.
If the Biden administration complies with this veto, Apple will appeal the ITC’s final decision with the US Court, 9to5Mac learned. The company plans to file an appeal on December 26, but this won’t delay the ban on these Apple Watch models.
Despite that, it’s unclear if Apple plans for a settlement, licensing agreement, development of new technology, or just compliance with the ban and shock everyone with this unprecedented Apple Watch ban. BGR will keep following the next steps.
Here’s the statement shared with 9to5Mac:
A Presidential Review Period is in progress regarding an order from the U.S. International Trade Commission on a technical intellectual property dispute pertaining to Apple Watch devices containing the Blood Oxygen feature. While the review period will not end until December 25, Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand. This includes pausing sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from Apple.com starting December 21, and from Apple retail locations after December 24.
Apple’s teams work tirelessly to create products and services that empower users with industry-leading health, wellness, and safety features. Apple strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers.
Should the order stand, Apple will continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.