Apple to halt US sales of Series 9, Ultra 2 smartwatches over patent dispute Reuters

© Reuters. The new Apple Watch Series 9 is on display during the ‘Wonderlust’ event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2023. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

(Reuters) – Apple said on Monday it would suspend sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the United States starting this week as it deals with a patent dispute over technology that enables the devices’ blood oxygen function.

The move follows an October order from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that could ban Apple (NASDAQ: .

The feature’s presidential review period is underway, and while the review period won’t end until Dec. 25, Apple is taking precautionary steps to comply should the decision stand, the company said.

The company said it will suspend sales of the watch from its website starting December 21 and from Apple retail stores after December 24.

Both the Series 9 and Ultra 2 would remain available for purchase outside the United States, and there would be no impact on previously purchased units that include blood oxygen functionality.

Apple believes that the ITC’s finding was erroneous and should be overturned, and intends to appeal the decision to the Federal Circuit.

Masimo accused Apple of hiring his employees, stealing his pulse oximetry technology and incorporating it into the popular Apple Watch.

A jury trial on Masimo’s charges in California federal court ended in acrimonious proceedings in May. Apple separately sued Masimo for patent infringement in federal court in Delaware, calling Masimo’s legal actions a “maneuver to clear the way” for its own competing smartwatch.

A presidential administration has not vetoed an ITC decision since 2013, when President Barack Obama’s administration lifted a ban on imports of Apple’s iPhones and iPads in a patent dispute with Samsung ( KS: ).

In February, the Biden administration decided not to veto a separate ban on Apple Watch imports following a patent infringement complaint from medical technology company AliveCor. The ITC imposed a suspension ban on other grounds.

Apple’s wearables, home and accessories business, which includes the Apple Watch, AirPods and other products, generated $8.28 billion in revenue during the third quarter of 2023, according to a company report.