The ban on Apple Watch sales in the US has been lifted
The latest Apple Watches, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, are once again available for purchase in some physical Apple stores in the US, with broader availability expected soon. This decision follows a federal appeals court’s decision to temporarily halt a sales and import ban that affected both devices. The ban was imposed after the US International Trade Commission found Apple guilty of patent violations from medical device maker Masimo.
The appeals court granted Apple the temporary ability to resume selling the watches while awaiting a decision on proposed modifications to address the patent concerns. The US Customs and Border Protection is set to rule on these changes on January 12th. If unsuccessful, the court will determine whether to postpone the ban until it can resolve the underlying patent dispute, potentially resulting in a prolonged delay.
In response to the court’s decision, an Apple spokesperson, Nikki Rothberg, expressed gratitude for the stay on the exclusion order, emphasizing the company’s dedication to developing technology that prioritizes user health, wellness, and safety features.
Prior to the ban’s enforcement on December 26th, Apple had preemptively removed the Series 9 and Ultra 2 from both online and physical stores. The ban specifically targets devices equipped with a blood oxygen saturation sensor, a feature present in flagship watches since the Series 6. However, the more affordable Apple Watch SE, lacking this sensor, has been unaffected and remained available for purchase.
Third-party retailers were allowed to continue selling through their stock of Apple Watches while the ban was in place, though the import ban would have eventually prevented them from acquiring more units.