The Apple Watch Series 9 has been at the center of a notable legal dispute involving the medical technology company Masimo. This case revolves around allegations that Apple infringed upon Masimo's patents related to blood oxygen monitoring technology. As a result of these allegations, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) initially imposed a ban on the import of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models into the United States, specifically targeting devices equipped with the blood oxygen feature.
However, following an appeal by Apple, a U.S. appeals court temporarily halted the ban, providing Apple with a short-term reprieve while the legal process unfolds. Apple has been proactive in seeking a range of legal and technical solutions to this issue. This includes redesigning the sensors for the affected smartwatch models and exploring potential software updates that could circumvent patent infringements. It's important to note that this legal dispute has significant implications, not only for the availability of these specific Apple Watch models in the U.S. market but also for Apple's broader wearables business, which is a substantial revenue generator for the company.
The ongoing legal tussle has also opened up discussions about the broader impact of such patent disputes on consumers and the tech industry as a whole. Some opinions suggest that Apple may ultimately have to negotiate a financial settlement with Masimo to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch SE, which does not include the blood oxygen sensor, remains unaffected by this dispute and continues to be available for purchase.
The situation remains dynamic, and further developments are expected as both Apple and Masimo navigate this complex legal landscape. For consumers, this means that while the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 might currently be available through third-party retailers in the U.S., their availability directly from Apple is subject to change based on the outcome of the ongoing legal proceedings.