Apple Watch Models Pulled off Shelves for Patent Issues

In light of an impending patent dispute, Apple plans to cease sales of specific Apple Watch models in the U.S., namely the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, starting this week on its website and after Christmas Eve from retail locations. This decision emerges amidst an ongoing disagreement with medical device creator Masimo, concerning the blood oxygen measurement feature in Apple’s smartwatches.

Apple is committed to restoring the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to its United States customer base as swiftly as possible, subject to the judgment being maintained. Meanwhile, other models will continue to be purchasable.

Earlier in October, the International Trade Commission (ITC) found Apple guilty of infringing Masimo’s pulse oximeter patent. Consequently, Apple is taking steps to comply with the potential ban while strongly contesting the ruling with legal and technical measures.

Despite the controversy, experts like David McQueen, a director at ABI Research, believe Apple’s decision to keep the watches in stores until Dec. 24 may help mitigate the financial aftershock. The continuation of sales until just before Christmas provides Apple with a window to maintain sales momentum during the holiday season. As the leading player in the smartwatch sector, with a roughly 24% market share, Apple might be able to weather this temporary disruption in sales without significant adverse effects.

As per Masimo CEO Joe Kiani, the suspension of sales is a tactical move in the ongoing patent conflict. Despite this, he remains open to settlement negotiations. The relationship between the two companies has been marred with disputes, with Apple pressing patent infringement lawsuits against Masimo in October 2022.

Indicated by strong sales in 2022 and 2023, Apple’s dominant market share might allow it to endure this sales disruption. Apple’s 2022 sales figures reveal approximately 49 million units sold, and for 2023, about 26.7 million units have been sold in just the first nine months.


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