Temporary Reprieve: Import Ban on Apple Watch Put on Hold

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models have been allowed to continue importing by a federal appeals court in Washington D.C. following a decision by the International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban imports of both models amid a patent dispute. The ruling is temporary, with the court giving the ITC until January 10 to respond to Apple’s motion for a longer-term pause on the ban during the appeals process. This means that Apple should be able to resume Apple Watch sales on its website and in Apple Stores in the US. Last week, both models of the Watch were unavailable on Apple’s website. The Watch side of Apple’s business generates about $17 billion a year. In October, the ITC found that Apple violated two patents belonging to another California-based company called Masimo related to the blood-oxygen sensor in the Watch. President Biden did not veto the ITC’s decision, and the ban officially went into effect last week. In its appeal filed on Tuesday, Apple claimed that the company will “suffer irreparable harm” if the ban continued. The company is redesigning the blood oxygen sensors in its smartwatch after both the ITC and Masimo agreed that a software fix would be insufficient to resolve the patent dispute.