Apple will preemptively remove the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 from its stores in the US this week to comply with an ITC ruling regarding a patent dispute with Masimo. The ruling bans Apple from selling the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in the US on its website after 3 pm ET on December 21, and in stores from December 24.
The ruling is regarding Apple using medical device maker Masimo’s technology in the two watches SpO2 (blood oxygen) sensor. Apple spokesperson Nikki Rothberg says Apple “strongly disagrees” with the order and is “pursuing a range of legal and technical options” to keep the two devices on store shelves.
Masimo filed two cases against Apple – one with the US District Court and another with the ITC. It’s now up to the US President Joe Biden to decide whether to uphold the ban or veto it – a rare occurrence. In 2013, then-president Barack Obama vetoed an ITC import ban on the iPhone 4, though President Biden has upheld an ITC ruling against the Apple Watch over the EKG feature in the past.
The ruling doesn’t affect units sold up until now – they’ll function just fine and will receive full technical support. The ruling also doesn’t apply to units currently in stock with Apple partners like BestBuy and Amazon, though Apple won’t be able to supply additional units after December 25.
The ban also only applies to the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in the US – no previous models or any models outside the US are affected.