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Apple Watch US sales ban averted with last-minute appeal

Apple will continue to be able to sell its two high-end Watch models in the US following a last-minute court order to halt an ITC ban over patent infringement claims

Apple has managed to temporarily avert a sales ban on its two most recent Watch models.

A US Court of Appeals agreed to put a temporary stay on a proposed ban that would have taken the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9 models off the market do to findings of patent infringement.

Apple had already taken both Watch Models off its web store and was said to have been removing them from retail shelves prior to the last-minute ruling by the Washington appeals court that puts a hold on the import ban order instituted by the US International Trade Commission (ITC.)

The ruling will allow Apple to continue to sell its two newest Watch models as it wrangles with California-based medical device maker Masimo over allegations of patent infringement.

The two patents in question relate to the technology that the Apple watch uses to monitor blood oxygen levels by way of a device known as a pulse oximeter.

It was alleged that, rather than just license the patents for the hardware design, Apple opted to instead poach a number of key employees from Masimo and copy the technology.

In August of 2021, the case would reach the ITC. The trade commission then presided over the matter for more than two years addressing the various claims of infringement.

On 26 October of this year, the ITC would issue its ruling. Both the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9 models were found to be in violation of Masim's patents and the Cupertino tech giant would have 60 days to pull them from store shelves both online and brick and mortar.

"The Commission has determined that the appropriate form of relief is [a Limited Exclusion Order] prohibiting the unlicensed entry of infringing wearable electronic devices with light-based pulse oximetry functionality and components thereof manufactured by or on behalf of Apple or any of its affiliated companies, parents, subsidiaries, or other related business entities, or its successors or assigns," Commissioner Lisa Barton said in announcing the ruling.

"The Commission has also determined to issue a [Cease and Desist Order] against Apple."

With Apple again able to sell it wearable line in then US, the companies will continue their legal wranglings, though an out of court settlement will likely be the outcome.