Update: Apple has responded to TechCrunch’s request for comment. The Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 are on sale at Apple brick and mortar locations starting today and will hit the company’s online store tomorrow. Apple notes, “We are thrilled to return the full Apple Watch lineup to customers in time for the new year. Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, including the blood oxygen feature, will become available for purchase again in the United States at Apple Stores starting today and from apple.com tomorrow by 12pm PT.” The company adds, “Apple’s teams have worked tirelessly over many years to develop technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features and we are pleased the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stayed the exclusion order while it considers our request to stay the order pending our full appeal.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals could hear the company’s appeal for a stay as early as January 15. Meanwhile, Apple has also submitted potential redesigns of the two impacted watches to U.S. customs.
A day after an Apple Watch import ban went into effect in the U.S., an appeals court has instituted a pause. The halt also comes a day after Apple filed an emergency request with the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The pause will remain in place until the court takes additional action. However, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 remain unavailable on the company’s site nearly a week after initially being pulled.
The fight centers around a pair of patents which Southern California health tech company Masimo claims Apple infringed with the wearable’s pulse oximetry sensor. Masimo has also accused Apple of poaching Masimo employees to build the blood oxygen sensor, which first arrived in 2020 with the Watch Series 6.
Apple has yet to respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment on this latest update, but the hardware giant has staunchly denied infringing on Masimo’s IP. After the Biden administration refused to veto the International Trade Commission’s October ruling yesterday, Apple noted, “We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.”
Masimo, meanwhile, has positioned the battle as one of David against Goliath. In October, founder/CEO Joe Kiani noted, “Today’s ruling by the USITC sends a powerful message that even the world’s largest company is not above the law. This important determination is a strong validation of our efforts to hold Apple accountable for unlawfully misappropriating our patented technology.”
Masimo has implied that it could be open to licensing the technology to Apple for a fee, though the latter is currently more interested in exploring all legal avenues.