A patent infringement case is causing Apple to abruptly stop selling its two most recent Apple Watch models, the Series 9 and Ultra 2. Its website froze sales as of December 21st, and they’re set to disappear from physical Apple Store shelves after December 24th. The move came in response to an import ban handed down by the US International Trade Commission, which ruled in October that Apple infringed on patents for pulse oximetry tech made by Masimo, a medical device maker.

This means Apple can no longer import and sell its newest Apple Watch models in the US — at least for the time being. The company is already trying to come up with a solution to avoid the ban, but it might take a while until the dispute is completely resolved.

If you want to keep up with all the latest on Apple’s legal battle, check out the news below.

The Apple Watch ban is preventing repairs of many modelsPhoto by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Not only has Apple halted online sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra Series 2 (with in-store sales to follow), but the company’s ongoing patent rift with medical device maker Masimo has another ripple effect: out-of-warranty hardware repairs for several Apple Watch models are now unavailable to customers. That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who reports that Apple has informed customer service employees that out-of-warranty hardware repairs and whole unit replacements for the Apple Watch Series 6 onward (with the exception of the SE) will be unavailable for the duration of the ban imposed by the US International Trade Commission.

If you own one of the models included in the ban and your device is out of warranty, well, you should be extra careful with Apple’s smartwatch starting right now. Products under warranty (or the extended AppleCare Plus program) aren’t affected by this situation. Customers will be notified when hardware replacements are permitted, according to Gurman’s report.

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Apple loses attempt to halt Apple Watch sales banPhoto by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple has lost its bid to delay an import and sales ban on the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2. In a filing on Wednesday, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) denied Apple’s motion to stay the ban while awaiting an appeal.

On Monday, Apple announced its plans to pull the Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 from store shelves in response to an October ruling from the ITC, which said the company’s SpO2 sensors infringed on patents from medical device maker Masimo. The last day to purchase the Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 from Apple stores is December 24th, while the import ban officially goes into effect on December 26th. Apple is already exploring ways it can avoid the ban, including by implementing software changes, according to Bloomberg.

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I don’t think Biden is particularly focused on the Apple Watch ban.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said yesterday that the administration is “tracking this case and the December 25th deadline” — after which imports of new watches will be banned over a patent dispute.

Jean-Pierre indicated that the US Trade Representative will be the one making the decision on whether to block the ban:

“Ambassador Tai is obviously carefully considering all of the factors in this case, so I don’t want to get ahead of any decisions that may come out of USTR. But she certainly has the authority to decide.”


Masimo CEO thinks Apple can’t code its way out of the Watch ban.

Joe Kiani, whose company’s patent claims may halt sales of Apple’s newest smartwatches, explained his skepticism to Bloomberg.

“I don’t think that could work — it shouldn’t — because our patents are not about the software,” he said. “They are about the hardware with the software.”

Former US Patent Office director Andrei Iancu told The Verge Apple has a chance, albeit a slim one, depending on the patents’ wording.


Why the Apple Watch is being banned — and how Apple can avoid itThe Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 will be unavailable for order in the US after December 21st at 3PM ET. Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Earlier this year, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Apple had infringed on two patents from medical device maker Masimo. As a result, the ITC said it would impose an import ban on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 starting December 26th. At the time it was hard to believe that this would actually come to pass: Apple gets sued all the time, and even when it loses, how often does it actually face dramatic consequences?

Well, now would be one of those times. Experts say that, barring a Christmas miracle, it’s unlikely that Apple will find a way to escape the ban. Case in point, the company shocked everyone yesterday when it decided to preemptively pull the watches from its online store starting December 21st at 3PM ET. And after the 24th, they’ll disappear from Apple Stores, too.

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Apple is scrambling on software changes to attempt to resolve the ITC’s Apple Watch ban.

On Monday evening, Bloomberg reported the development and a few other details about Apple’s response to the ban.


Apple to pull Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 this week due to ITC banApple will pause selling the Series 9 and Ultra 2 starting December 21st. Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

After 3PM ET on December 21st, you won’t be able to buy the Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2. The last day for pickup or delivery of these models from Apple’s retail stores is December 24th. The reason? The company says it’s to preemptively comply with an ITC import ban following a patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo over its SpO2 sensor.

The news was first reported by 9to5Mac, and Apple confirmed the news to The Verge. The ban only affects the flagship Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. Since the Apple Watch SE does not have the SpO2 sensor, it remains unaffected. Previous models of the Apple Watch with the blood oxygen sensor will also not be impacted. The ITC ban also only impacts sales of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 within the US — the watches will still be available for sale abroad.

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