The United States Customs authorities have recently issued a verdict regarding Apple's redesigned models of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. This decision was made in relation to the ongoing dispute concerning two Masimo patents associated with the blood oxygen sensor.
According to a recent document filed with the Federal Circuit by Masimo's legal representatives, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection determined that Apple's modified design does not fall under the jurisdiction of the International Trade Commission's (ITC) previous ruling. The key change in Apple's design involves the removal of the pulse oximetry feature from the new models being sold.
An update from Apple indicates that, for the moment, the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models will continue to feature blood oxygen monitoring capabilities. This decision is in place while the U.S. appeals court is considering a temporary suspension during the ITC appeal period.
As we await further information from Apple, the current situation allows the company to continue the sale of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States. However, these models will not include pulse oximetry features moving forward.
This outcome suggests that, according to U.S. Customs, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 do not violate Masimo's patents as long as they exclude the pulse oximetry features. This decision will not affect current Apple Watch owners who already have these features on their devices.
The submission from Masimo's legal team provides limited details, referencing Apple's confidentiality claims.
On January 12, the Exclusion Order Enforcement Branch (EOE) of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection concluded that Apple's revised design is not covered by the remedial orders in the ITC investigation that led to Apple's appeal.
In a segment of Apple's request under 19 C.F.R. Part 177, which was not marked as confidential, Apple stated that its redesigned watches definitively lack pulse oximetry functionality. Due to confidentiality concerns, Masimo has not released a copy of the EOE decision, and no public version of this decision is currently available.
A decision from the U.S. appeals court on Apple's plea to suspend the ban on Apple Watches for the entire duration of the appeal process is also pending. This decision could be announced shortly.
Today marks the deadline for involved parties to express their support or opposition to the court's ruling. The U.S. appeals court is set to decide whether to extend the suspension of the Apple Watch ban throughout the entire period of Apple's appeal against the initial ITC ruling. The ITC has already expressed its disagreement with Apple's request.