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Apple Suspends Sales of Latest Apple Watch Models in U.S. Following Patent Dispute Ruling

Apple has halted sales of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States, as revealed by recent checks on its official website.

When attempting to access the pages for the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 on Thursday, the site displayed a message indicating that these products are "currently unavailable." Instead, the website now prominently displays the Apple Watch SE, an affordable model launched in 2022, which is not involved in the ongoing patent dispute.

Earlier in the week, Apple announced its plan to cease online sales of these latest Watch models starting Thursday, with in-store sales ending after Sunday. The Apple Watch SE remains on sale through Apple and other retail outlets, with the latter continuing to sell the newer models until their stock runs out.

A disclaimer on Apple's product pages, dated December 24, 2023, states that Apple Watches in the U.S. will no longer be sold with the feature to measure blood oxygen levels.

This suspension in sales results from a ruling by the International Trade Commission in October, which found that the blood oxygen sensor in these devices infringed on patents held by Masimo, a company specializing in medical technology for hospitals. Consequently, Apple faces a ban on importing these watches, which are produced in China.

This halt in sales means that Apple is unable to offer the latest versions of one of its key products in its biggest market during a peak sales period.

Bloomberg News suggests that this could also complicate repair services for existing watches, particularly for out-of-warranty exchanges of older, damaged models.

An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although President Joe Biden has the authority to overturn the ITC's ban before Christmas, a White House spokesperson indicated earlier this week that the decision rests with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, addressing reporters on Tuesday, stated, "We’re monitoring this situation and the December 25 deadline," adding that Ambassador Tai is "thoroughly assessing all aspects of this case" under the President's delegated authority.


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