Apple has decided to remove the blood oxygen measurement app from its new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models sold in the U.S. to avoid a sales ban, reported Bloomberg.
Apple To Remove Blood Oxygen Sensor From Watch To Avoid Ban
For those unaware, the move by Apple follows an ongoing patent dispute between Apple and the California-based medical tech firm Masimo, a maker of pulse oximeters, over a non-invasive blood oxygen sensor technology feature known as pulse oximetry.
In October last year, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) found Apple guilty of violating Masimo’s patents related to its pulse oximetry. Following this, it banned the Cupertino tech giant from importing and selling watches that use this feature from its physical and online stores, effective December 26, 2023.
Subsequently, Apple filed an emergency appeal motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It asked the court to consider the company’s request, temporarily pause the ban, and allow it to resume sales in the U.S. until the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) assesses its changes.
Further, towards the end of last month, Apple went on to win a court ruling temporarily in the aforementioned patent dispute, which allowed the company to resume sales of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models on its website and in its U.S. retail stores pending a legal review.
As per the Bloomberg report, Apple had asked U.S. Customs, which is in charge of enforcing import bans, to approve technical changes to the two Apple watches, including the removal of the blood-oxygen sensor, which they approved on Friday.
This approval will allow the Cupertino giant to keep its watch on the market even if it cannot get a more extended stay from the federal court.
In a court filing this Monday, Masimo said, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection decided that Apple’s redesign falls outside the scope of the remedial orders in the ITC Investigation underlying Apple’s appeal.”
It also called Apple’s move to remove the tool from its watches “a positive step toward accountability. It is especially important that one of the world’s largest and most powerful companies respects the intellectual property rights of smaller companies and complies with ITC orders when it is caught infringing.”
Apple has already started shipping modified Series 9 and Ultra 2 models to retail locations in the U.S., just in case it loses its request for a longer stay on the ban from the federal appeals court.