- Apple said it will introduce watches without the blood oxygen monitoring feature, beginning Thursday, after a federal court lifted a stay of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s ban on the original products stemming from a patent dispute with Masimo.
- The ITC ruled in October that the blood oxygen sensors in Apple’s Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches infringed on Masimo’s patents, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a temporary stay of the order. On Wednesday, the court denied Apple’s motion to extend the stay, allowing the ITC’s ban to take effect.
- The company, in a statement to MedTech Dive on Wednesday, said the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches without the blood oxygen feature will become available from Apple.com and Apple retail locations in the U.S. on Thursday.
Apple is working around the ITC ban by launching redesigned versions of its smartwatches with the pulse oximetry feature removed.
Consumers who buy the new Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches without the blood oxygen function will still see the icon for the feature, but when tapped, it will indicate the app is no longer available and direct them to a health app on the iPhone, where a link to a support article on Apple.com will be provided.
“The Federal Circuit's decision to lift the temporary stay is a victory for the integrity of the American patent system and the safety of people relying on pulse oximetry,” Joe Kiani, Masimo founder and CEO, said in a statement.
The win for Masimo comes after the Biden administration let stand the ITC’s decision ordering the tech giant to stop importing and selling the watches following a 60-day review period.
Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which enforces ITC exclusion orders, determined the Apple smartwatches redesigned without pulse oximetry fell outside the scope of the ITC’s orders in the agency’s investigation of Masimo’s patent infringement claims.
The intellectual property dispute between Masimo and the tech giant, however, is not over. Apple is appealing the ITC ruling.
“Apple’s appeal is ongoing, and we believe the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should reverse the USITC’s decision. We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting orders,” the company said. “Pending the appeal, Apple is taking steps to comply with the ruling while ensuring customers have access to Apple Watch with limited disruption.”
The company said there is no impact on previously purchased Apple watches that include the blood oxygen feature.