Apple Watch imports could be banned! Know why

Apple is facing a potential ban of the import of its smartwatches in the US after the International Trade Commission found the Cupertino-based company had violated a patent.

| Updated on: Oct 27 2023, 18:58 IST
Apple Watch
Import of Apple Watches could be banned in the US. Know details. (Unsplash)
Apple Watch
Import of Apple Watches could be banned in the US. Know details. (Unsplash)

The latest order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) could potentially mean that the import of Apple Watches is banned in the US. This order comes after the ITC found that the Cupertino-based tech giant violated the patent rights of the medical technology company Masimo. Apple smartwatches are some of the priciest devices you can buy right now as they are equipped with a suite of health trackers such as heart rate, ECG, fall detection, SpO2, and more. However, the inclusion of pulse oximeter could prove to be a costly affair for Apple due to a potential ban being slapped on the Apple Watches.

Potential Apple Watch ban

According to a Reuters report, Apple violated Masimo's patents for a light-based technology for measuring blood oxygen levels. In January, a US judge ruled that Apple indeed had infringed one of Masimo's patents. At that time, the decision was with US' ITC whether to ban the import of these smartwatches, and indeed it has taken the step, sending shockwaves around the tech industry.

The original complaint made by Masimo in 2021 claimed that the Apple Watch Series 6 infringed its patents which was originally made in China, but the production shifted to Vietnam later on. However, the ITC order did not specify which Apple Watches would be affected by the ban.

Masimo Chief Executive Officer Joe Kiani said that ITC's decision “sends a powerful message that even the world's largest company is not above the law.”

The report further states that this decision will not be in effect immediately as President Joe Biden will be provided a 60-day period to review the order and decide whether to veto it. If not, the policy will go into effect, meaning that the import of Apple Watch in the US could potentially be banned.

A spokesperson for Apple said, “Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of U.S. consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple. While today's decision has no immediate impact on sales of Apple Watch, we believe it should be reversed, and will continue our efforts to appeal.”

On the other hand, Apple has also sued Masimo in Delaware's federal court, claiming that Masimo's actions are a way to “maneuver to clear a path” for its smartwatch in a segment that is highly competitive.

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First Published Date: 27 Oct, 18:57 IST