Apple has once again faced a setback in the U.S. as it has been banned from selling certain versions of the Apple Watch due to a patent-infringement case filed against the company by medical device maker Masimo.
Masimo claims that the blood oxygen monitoring feature found in select Apple Watches infringes on its patents. In October, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 violated two of Masimo's patents, resulting in a ban on importing these devices.
This decision was reviewed by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who ultimately upheld the ITC's determination in December. Apple responded by appealing the ITC decision to a federal circuit court, which granted an interim stay while it considered a motion for a further stay during the appeal process.
However, on Wednesday, the court lifted the interim stay, effective from 5 p.m. Eastern time Thursday. As of 3:30 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, both the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches were still available for purchase on the Apple online store. Apple has not yet provided a comment on the ruling.
The circuit court, in its 3-page ruling, explained that it must consider four factors under federal rules: the likelihood of the appeal succeeding on its merits, whether Apple would suffer irreparable damage without a stay, whether the stay would harm other interested parties, and where the public interest lies.
After careful consideration of all four factors, the court decided to lift the interim stay and deny Apple's motion. It is important to note that this ruling does not imply any conclusions regarding the merits of the appeal.
The court also mentioned that the Exclusion Order Enforcement Branch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently determined that the ITC's decision would not apply to redesigned watches that do not include the blood oxygen monitoring feature.