Apple to halt Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 sales in US

Apple said on Monday that it will pause sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States starting this week, following an order from the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on a patent dispute pertaining to Apple Watch devices containing the Blood Oxygen feature.

In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple explained that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 will no longer be available to order from Apple’s website in the US after 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 21st. In-store inventory will no longer be available from Apple retail locations after December 24th.

Apple preemptively complies with the International Trade Commission (ITC) ban on imports of Apple Watches following a patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo over its blood oxygen sensor. Masimo, a medical device company, has accused Apple of infringing on its pulse oximetry patents and filed a lawsuit in California Federal Court and requested an injunction from the ITC. The ITC found that Apple's devices violate Masimo's patent rights.

A presidential review period on the feature is in progress. US President Joe Biden has until December 25 to review the order. However, vetos of ITC import bans have been rare. Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand, the company confirmed to Reuters.

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

Apple believes the ITC's finding was erroneous and should be reversed and intends to appeal the decision to the Federal Circuit.

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

A jury trial on Masimo's allegations in California federal court ended with a mistrial in May. Apple has separately sued Masimo for patent infringement in a federal court in Delaware and has called Masimo's legal actions a "maneuver to clear a path" for its own competing smartwatch.

A presidential administration has not vetoed an ITC ruling since 2013, when President Barack Obama's administration overturned an import ban on Apple's iPhones and iPads from a patent dispute with Samsung.

The Biden administration in February chose not to veto a separate import ban on Apple Watches based on a patent-infringement complaint from medical technology company AliveCor. The ITC has placed the ban on hold for other reasons.

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