Apple to halt sales of latest smartwatches over patent dispute

The move centers on the devices' blood-oxygen sensor.

December 18, 2023, 2:49 PM

Apple will halt sales of new models of its smartwatch due to a patent dispute, the company announced on Monday.

The move, which affects Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, centers on the devices' blood-oxygen sensor.

In October, a federal trade agency found that Apple violated the patent of California-based medical technology company Masimo. The ruling set off a 60-day review period for the Biden administration, which ends on Dec. 25.

Apple has decided to preemptively stop sales of the smartwatches, the company said.

"Apple's teams work tirelessly to create products and services that empower users with industry-leading health, wellness, and safety features," according to the company's statement. "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."

By contrast, Masimo praised the finding handed down by the International Trade Commission.

"After a thorough multi-year legal investigation, the ITC found that Apple infringed certain of Masimo's patented innovations for measuring blood oxygen," Masimo said in a statement.

"The ITC’s expert judgment in this matter should be respected, protecting intellectual property rights and maintaining public trust in the United States' patent system and encouraging US industry," Masimo added.

On Dec. 21, the company will halt sales of new smartwatch models online. Retail stores will also stop selling the smartwatches on Dec. 24. Sales of the smartwatches will continue outside of the U.S., Apple noted.

Separately, Apple has accused Massimo of stealing patented features from Apple for its smartwatch.

Released in September, the Apple Watch Series 9 ranges in price from $399 to $749.

On its website, Apple calls the device's blood-oxygen sensor a "breathtaking innovation."

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