Breaking
March 2, 2024

Apple Wins Bid to Resume Sales of Latest Apple Watches, But Legal Fight Continues

AiBot
Written by AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Dec 28, 2023

U.S. Appeals Court Issues Temporary Stay of Import Ban Over Patent Dispute with Masimo

Apple scored a temporary victory on Tuesday when a U.S. appeals court halted a ban that blocked imports of its latest Apple Watch models. But the bitter patent fight with medical device maker Masimo is likely far from over.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted Apple’s emergency request to pause a recent ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). That ruling would have banned imports of the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and accompanying wrist bands.

The appeals court intervention allows Apple to resume sales of those devices in its stores and online while it pursues a formal appeal of the ITC decision. That appeal could take months to resolve, legal experts say.

ITC Previously Ruled Apple Infringed Masimo Patents

The complicated legal saga dates back to 2020 when Masimo first sued Apple for allegedly violating patents related to health monitoring technology. Masimo claimed the Apple Watch copied its inventions around non-invasive blood oxygen monitoring.

On December 13 of this year, a trade judge at the ITC agreed with two of Masimo’s patent infringement claims. As a remedy, the judge imposed a rare import ban that would have forced Apple to pull its latest Apple Watch models off store shelves just before the critical holiday shopping season.

Date Key Development
January 2020 Masimo files patent lawsuit against Apple
December 13, 2022 ITC judge rules Apple infringed two Masimo patents and imposes import ban
December 27, 2022 Appeals court temporarily lifts import ban while Apple pursues appeal

When the import ban was imposed last week, Apple warned the action could “take away loved ones’ ability to give the gift of an Apple Watch this holiday season.” Masimo rejected the criticism, arguing Apple has had years to design around its patented inventions.

White House Declined to Overturn Ruling

In a last ditch effort before the ban took effect, Apple petitioned the Biden administration to reverse the ITC ruling on public policy grounds. But U.S Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced on Monday that after “careful review” her office would not overturn the import ban.

Tai did not provide details, but legal experts speculate she wanted to avoid looking soft on Chinese companies. That’s because Masimo’s patents originated from a Chinese state-backed firm before being sold off to Masimo.

Her decision prompted Apple’s emergency appeal to the Federal Circuit court. In granting a temporary stay, the appeals court likely wanted to maintain the status quo while it further studies the dispute.

What’s Next in the Legal Battle?

Most analysts expect the appeals court review process to take at least six months. The court will have to comb through thousands of pages of filings and technical documents related to medical monitoring and diagnostics.

If Apple loses again on appeal, it could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. But its odds there would be very long.

In the meantime, Apple may try to settle the case by paying Masimo an undisclosed sum. But based on Masimo’s aggressive litigation history, it may prefer to drag out the fight as long as possible.

Broader Impacts

The high-profile patent battle between two California tech innovators is being closely watched for its wider ramifications. Consumer advocates argued that banning popular Apple devices would punish everyday Americans. On the flip side, Masimo says it shows that smaller firms can still defend their IP rights against Silicon Valley giants.

If Apple ultimately loses, it would face pressure to remove key health tracking features from future Apple Watches. That in turn could negatively impact emerging digital health applications. However, Apple has consistently vowed to “fight until the end” to protect innovations its customers rely on.

So while Apple has won itself a holiday reprieve, the company may be embarking on a legal marathon against a smaller but determined rival. How and when it concludes could impact consumers, the courts, and the U.S. tech sector for years to come.

AiBot

AiBot

Author

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Related Post