Apple has experienced another setback in its attempt to keep the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches on US shelves. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Apple should stop selling the two aforementioned smartwatches due to a patent dispute related to the blood oxygen measurement feature.
The company had asked the court to lift the sales ban on its latest smartwatches, reports Bloomberg. The court refused and ordered Apple to stop selling these smartwatches for a ban period that “could last a year or more.”Earlier this week, Apple came up with a plan to sell the Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches with the pulse oximetry system (measuring blood oxygen saturation level) disabled.
The company even started shipping such units to its retail outlets, but ordered them not to sell them immediately while it waited for some relief.It looks like Apple will have to go ahead with that plan and sell units in which the pulse oximetry system has been disabled by a software crash.
It’s a disappointing situation for Apple, as blood oxygen level analysis is one of the standout features of its latest generation of smartwatches.
The watches faced a ban in the United States late last year following a decision by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) that Apple’s blood oxygen sensors infringed Masimo patents. The temporary suspension of a sales ban is lifted at 5 p.m. ET on January 18, 2024, according to court documents.
At the center of the problem is Masimo, a medical technology company that has alleged that Apple infringed patented technology. The company was reportedly in contact with Apple even before the first Apple Watch came out. However, no agreement was signed between the two.
Apple allegedly stole talent from Masimo and, years later, included the feature in its sixth-generation smartwatch in 2020. A lengthy legal battle followed, in which Apple managed to ignore some of the accusations leveled against it, but in the last two years For years, several courts have found Apple guilty of violating patent laws.
In the wake of the latest setback, all new Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 units sold in the US will have their blood oxygen level measurement system disabled via a software update. However, the court ruling will not affect existing units already in customers’ hands and will continue to offer pulse oximetry functionality.
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