The US International Trade Commission (ITC) on Thursday ordered a ban on Apple Watch imports into the country after finding that Apple had infringed pulse oximetry company Masimo's patents on the devices (via Reuters).
The ban is now subject to presidential review, so it will not take effect immediately, and Apple may file a petition for injunction in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit after the end of the 60-day review period. In the past, presidents have rarely vetoed bans.
“Macimo mistakenly tried to use the ITC to keep a potentially life-saving product away from millions of U.S. consumers while making room for his own watches. it’s copying Apple,” an Apple spokesperson said. “While today's decision does not have an immediate impact on Apple Watch sales, we believe it should be overturned and will continue to seek to appeal.”
Masimo CEO Joe Chiani said the decision “sends a powerful a signal that even the world's largest company is not above the law.”
As of 2021, Masimo has been embroiled in an ongoing battle with Apple over certain health features found in some Apple Watch models, and Masimo is seeking a ban of these models in the United States. The ITC decision did not specify which Apple Watch models would be affected by the ban, but Masimo's original complaint said the Apple Watch Series 6, released in 2020, infringed its patents.
Masimo accuses Apple of illegal practices. poached Masimo employees and stole trade secrets during the development of the Apple Watch. The company is seeking more than $1.8 billion in damages and co-ownership of five Apple pulse oximetry patents that Masimo says use its technology.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ultimately invalidated all but two of the patents, but in January the ITC said Apple had infringed a Masimo patent covering light technology for measuring blood oxygen levels.
Apple also faces an import ban on the Apple Watch in a separate patent litigation with medical institutions. technology company AliveCor. The ITC issued an injunction in February and the Biden administration refused to reverse the decision, but the injunction was delayed pending the outcome of proceedings over the validity of AliveCor's patents.
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