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Temporary Reprieve for Apple: U.S. Appeals Court Suspends Ban on Latest Apple Watch Sales Amid Ongoing Patent Dispute

The U.S. Federal Appeals Court has provisionally halted the execution of an International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling that prevented Apple from selling its latest models of the Apple Watch in the U.S. This temporary suspension was granted on Wednesday while the court deliberates on whether to extend a more enduring stay as Apple contests the ITC's verdict.

Apple had submitted an urgent request to the appeals court on Tuesday, just after the prohibition on imports became effective.

Anticipating the embargo, Apple had already withdrawn the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 from its stores shortly before the holiday season. The Biden administration, given 60 days to comment on the matter, announced on Tuesday it would not intercede.

In its appeal, Apple contended that the ban would cause them "irreparable harm." The company implored the court to at least allow a pause sufficient for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to assess if a redesigned version of the watches is not covered by the ITC's ruling.

This embargo is rooted in a prolonged patent conflict between Apple and Masimo, a medical technology firm. Masimo alleges that Apple hired away its employees and misappropriated trade secrets linked to light-based blood oxygen level measurement technology.

Masimo first brought a lawsuit against Apple for patent infringement to the ITC in 2021. In January, an ITC judge ruled in favor of Masimo, a decision endorsed by the full commission in October. Masimo also initiated legal action against Apple in a federal court in 2020, but this ended in a mistrial in May. Subsequently, in 2022, Apple filed a countersuit against Masimo, accusing it of imitating its technology.


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