After a federal court temporarily lifted a sales halt ordered by the International Trade Commission (ITC) over a patent dispute, two higher-end models of the Apple Watch can go on sale again.
The ITC had ordered the sales halt in October to prevent Apple from using specific technologies related to a blood-oxygen measurement system in its Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches. This halt was a result of an intellectual property dispute between Apple and the medical technology company Masimo.
Last week, Apple suspended online sales of the two watch models in the US in compliance with the ITC ruling. The court’s action will now allow sales of these models while it considers whether to continue allowing sales during Apple’s appeal. As of Wednesday, the Apple Watch models in question were not available on Apple’s online store.
This is not the first time the Apple Watch has faced patent roadblocks as the company expands its watches into health-management devices. In a ruling last year, the ITC found that Apple had infringed on the wearable EKG technology of AliveCor, a decision that the Biden administration chose not to overturn. However, this dispute has not directly affected Apple Watch sales as another regulatory body had ruled AliveCor’s technology as not patentable. The legal tussle on this issue is still ongoing.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives predicts that the patent challenges faced by Apple in integrating medical technology into its watch models will likely lead the company to either work out licensing deals or acquire startups specializing in the field.
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