Apple is facing a significant challenge following a decision by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in October, which found the tech giant in violation of Masimo’s patents related to the blood oxygen sensor technology used in Apple Watches. This has prompted Apple to announce that it will discontinue the sale of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States starting from December 21.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple engineers are currently working on modifying the algorithms used for the blood oxygen sensor in the Apple Watch. These changes, which involve recalculating oxygen saturation and altering the way users receive data, are aimed at circumventing the technology that allegedly infringes on Masimo's patents. This move is part of Apple's broader strategy to quickly resume sales of its popular wearable device.
Apple seeks creative solutions to Apple Watch sales ban
Masimo, however, has argued that a software update alone may not suffice to resolve the patent infringements, insisting that changes to the hardware are necessary. Despite this, Apple believes that a software-based solution will be sufficient and is in the process of developing a workaround. The likelihood of a software update being ready before the sales halt seems slim, and any necessary hardware changes could take months to implement.
In response to the ITC's ruling, Apple is taking steps to comply, even though the White House has until December 25 to make a decision on the matter. As a result, both the Watch Series 9 and the Watch Ultra 2 will no longer be available for purchase in US stores from December 21 at 2:00 PM Pacific Time, and online sales will cease after December 24.
However, the Apple Watch SE, which does not feature a blood oxygen sensor, will still be available in other countries. Apple plans to challenge the ITC's decision at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on December 26, provided a motion to reconsider is not granted. This development represents a significant hurdle for Apple as it navigates the complex landscape of intellectual property and innovation in the tech industry.