Apple to Pause Sale of Newest Watches Due to Patent Dispute

The company will pull Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models from its shelves after December 24

Brand new Apple Watch Series 9 watches are displayed during an Apple event on September 12, 2023 in Cupertino, California.
Apple Watch Series 9 models displayed during an Apple event on September 12, 2023 in Cupertino, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

An ongoing dispute over a blood oxygen sensor could keep several models of the Apple Watch off retail shelves in the coming months. Engadget’s Kris Holt reported that both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are set to go off the market for a time, at least from the company producing them — which Apple confirmed to the publication in a statement.

Apple will stop selling the watches online beginning on December 21, though they’ll be on sale in Apple stores until December 24. That said, this pause in sales won’t apply to other retailers for the time being; as 9to5Mac noted, stores like Best Buy and online retailers will continue to sell both models of the smartwatch.

At issue here is a ruling from October by the U.S. International Trade Commission in response to a patent lawsuit filed by Masimo. As Ars Technica reported at the time, California-based Masimo argued that Apple had violated its patent with the blood oxygen sensor on the Apple Watch, and the ITC ruled in their favor. In the wake of that decision, the case is now nearing the end of the presidential review period, which lasts for 60 days, at the end of which President Joe Biden could overturn the ruling.

“Apple strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers,” Apple told Engadget in a statement. “Should the order stand, Apple will continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the US as soon as possible.”

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Engadget’s reporting on the situation also notes two additional wrinkles in the situation: the sales pause only applies to U.S.-based customers, and that the company will continue to sell models of the Apple Watch that don’t include the contentious blood oxygen sensor. The presidential review period is set to end on December 25; in the wake of that period coming to an end, we should know more about the future of Apple Watch sales in the U.S.

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