Apple and Masimo Patent Dispute Summary

Apple and Masimo Patent Dispute Summary

Over the past few days, Apple paused (and later commenced) sales of its current flagship smartwatches – the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2, due to an ongoing patent dispute with Masimo. The dispute, which has been going on for about three years, escalated further when the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) placed an import ban on the aforementioned devices.

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Masimo, a California-based health technology and consumer electronics company, alleges that the Blood Oxygen sensor in Apple Watches infringes on its pulse oximeter technology patent. The company also accused Apple of poaching key staff that had access to the various sensitive information on mobile medical products and applications.

Did You Know:

The pulse oximeter feature (blood oxygen sensor) was added in Apple Watch Series 6 models in 2020.

The affected watches are designed in California and assembled in China, hence the import ban. The masimo patent dispute does not apply to the Apple Watch SE, which has no Oyxgen Blood sensor feture, and remained on sale before the ban appeal. Back in October, the ITC ruled in favour of Masimo, and ordered Apple to pause the importation and sales of the Apple Watches.

The ruling, which is subject to the U.S. President’s review (up to 60-days) didn’t take full effect until December 26. The Joe Biden administration had until December 25 to veto the ITC’s order but decided not to. Apple appealed the ban at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington and was granted a temporary halt on the ban.

A final decision on the issue will be decided by the US Customs and Border Protection in a couple of weeks (January 12). The organisation will determine if the redesigned versions of the watches do not infringe on Masimo’s patent.