Apple Withholds Sale of ‘Series 9’ and ‘Ultra-2’ Smartwatches in the US Amid Patent Dispute Over Blood Oxygen Feature

Apple Announces Temporary Suspension of Apple Watch Models in the US Market

Apple, the tech giant, has declared that it will cease the sale of Apple Watch models in the United States, starting from December 18. The company will not make available the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 for purchase in the American market from this week onwards. According to Reuters, these models will not be accessible for online orders on Apple’s website from December 21. Furthermore, after December 24, these models will not be available at Apple’s retail stores. The last day for delivery of online orders is set for December 24.

This decision comes in the midst of a patent dispute related to the blood oxygen feature present in these smartwatches. The long-standing patent dispute has been between Apple and medical technology company Masimo, renowned for its pulse oximeter. In 2020, Masimo filed a case against Apple, accusing the tech giant of theft of trade secrets and patent infringement, specifically related to Masimo’s pulse oximetry technology. Masimo, a prominent figure in the field, claims to be the ‘Modern Pulse Oximetry Inventor.’

The dispute escalated when Masimo alleged that Apple violated a patent during the launch of Apple Watch Series 6. The court had previously ruled in favor of Masimo in a related case. In October 2023, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) supported the court’s decision and confirmed that Apple infringed on Masimo’s patent. Consequently, Masimo received a favorable ruling, stating that Apple has violated one of its patents in the realm of blood oxygen sensor technology.

This controversy specifically involves the patent infringement regarding the pulse oximeter present in the watch, and therefore, Apple cannot continue selling these models.

No Restriction on Sale of Smartwatches in India, Apple Watch SE Continues

Both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 will continue to be available for purchase in India, as they do not feature the blood oxygen sensor. The restriction on these models will only apply in the United States. Consequently, both watches will be available for sale in India and various other markets outside the United States. Users who have purchased Apple Watch models primarily for the blood oxygen feature need not worry, as these restrictions do not affect watches sold in India.

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 were launched in September this year, offering eight color options. The Watch Series 9 introduces the double-tap feature, allowing users to answer calls by tapping their fingers twice. Similarly, ending a call can be done with a double-tap on the fingers. The Watch Series 9 is priced at $399 for the GPS variant and $499 for the GPS+Cellular variant in the United States. The Watch Ultra 2 is priced at $799.

This decision seems to be a result of a patent dispute between Apple and Masimo, with the restriction specifically related to the blood oxygen sensor. However, the sale of other models, including the Apple Watch SE, continues without any hindrance in India and other countries outside the United States.

Arvind Amble

My name is Arvind Amble. As a tech enthusiast and writer, I'm fascinated by the ever-evolving world of technology, AI, IOS, Android, Software & Apps, and Digital Marketing. With a keen eye for emerging trends and a passion for innovation, I bring a fresh perspective to my writing, blending technical expertise with a creative flair.