Impending Ruling Threatens to Ban Importation of Apple Watches to the US After Holidays

Title: US Trade Commission Imposes Ban on Certain Apple Watches

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In a recent ruling, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) has issued a ban on specific Apple Watches, which will result in their importation being halted and sales being ceased within the United States. The ban, set to take effect from December 26, poses potential ramifications for Apple’s estimated $14-$18 billion in yearly watch revenue.

Apple Watches currently hold a dominant 60% market share in the smartwatch industry, as reported by Counterpoint Research. However, the trade court’s decision upholds an earlier ruling from January that found Apple guilty of violating Masimo’s patent on light-based technology, which is crucial for reading biomarkers like blood-oxygen levels. Masimo, a medical technology company, accused Apple of unlawfully misappropriating their patented technology.

Apple has responded by stating its intention to appeal the ban in federal court and vehemently denying Masimo’s claims. The tech giant has also emphasized its respect for other companies’ intellectual property rights.

The timing of the verdict is significant considering the recent release of Apple’s latest model, the Apple Watch Series 9, in September. The Series 9 boasts touchless abilities and a price range starting from $399 to $699, making it an attractive proposition for consumers.

One of the key arguments put forth by Masimo was that Apple intentionally hired over 20 employees from their company instead of purchasing a license for the technology. Apple had previously faced a mistrial in another trade secrets lawsuit involving Masimo back in May. In retaliation, Apple has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Masimo in a Delaware federal court, alleging that the medical technology firm is attempting to pave the way for its own smartwatch.

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While President Joe Biden possesses the authority to reverse the ruling, it is unprecedented for presidents to overturn decisions made by nonpartisan agencies. The outcome of the appeal process and the potential impact on Apple’s market dominance will be closely watched in the coming months.

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