April 13, 2024
Apple to Remove Blood Oxygen Feature From Apple Watch to Avoid U.S. Import Ban

Apple to Remove Blood Oxygen Feature From Apple Watch to Avoid U.S. Import Ban

Posted January 16, 2024 at 12:15am by iClarified
Apple plans to remove the blood-oxygen feature of its Apple Watch to avoid an import ban in the United States. The change will affect the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Back in October, the ITC found Apple guilty of infringing patents held by Masimo Corporation and Cercacor Laboratories with its smartwatch's blood oxygen feature. The ruling was subject to a 60 day Presidential review period; however, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced that it would not overrule the ban.

On December 21, the company began to halt sales of the Apple Watch models in the United Sates; however, on December 27 it was granted a temporary pause on the ban.

While Apple fights for a longer stay from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, it has been developing a software workaround to remove the pulse oximetry feature from Apple Watch.

According to Bloomberg, Masimo Corp has revealed that US Customs and Border Protection approved Apple's workaround on Jan. 12. The agency reportedly "decided that Apple's redesign falls outside the scope" of the ITC's import ban. This will allow Apple to keep the watch on the market even if fails to get a longer stay from the federal court.

"Apple's claim that its redesigned watch does not contain pulse oximetry is a positive step toward accountability," Masimo said. "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."

The removal of the feature could affect sales; however, it's clearly a better alternative to pulling the device off the shelves entirely. Apple's engineers have also been working on a way to change the feature's algorithms in a way that might not infringe on Masimo's technology, but it's unclear if they will be successful.

The Apple operations team has already begun shipping modified Series 9 and Ultra 2 models to retail locations in the U.S., just in case the appeal fails. Please download the iClarified app or follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and RSS for more updates.

The Apple Watch Series 9 is currently available at Amazon.com for $329 ($70 off) and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available for $749 ($50 off).

Apple to Remove Blood Oxygen Feature From Apple Watch to Avoid U.S. Import Ban
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