Apple is suspending sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the US due to a patent dispute over the blood oxygen sensor on the wearables. The suspension will begin on December 21 for Apple.com and after December 24 for Apple retail locations. The Apple Watch SE, which does not have a blood oxygen sensor, will still be available for purchase. Previous purchases of Apple Watches containing the blood oxygen feature are not affected, and the Series 9 and Ultra 2 will still be available outside of the US.
The dispute stems from a lawsuit filed by medical tech company Masimo against Apple in 2021, claiming patent violations related to light-based blood-oxygen monitoring. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) upheld a judge’s ruling in October that the Apple Watch did violate Masimo’s patents, leading to the suspension of sales in the US.
Apple plans to appeal the decision and may also reach a settlement with Masimo or issue software updates that nullify patent infringements. The situation will be further addressed after the 60-day Presidential Review Period ends on December 25.
Additionally, the US Trade Representative will review the ITC’s order and has the option to disapprove of it due to policy reasons. Apple is working to ensure that the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be available to customers in the US again in the future.
Apple has also filed patent infringement suits of its own against Masimo, claiming that Masimo’s smartwatch is an Apple Watch knockoff.