Updated Apple Watches Exempt from Import Ban, States US Customs

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US Customs and Border Protection has ruled that Apple can bypass an import ban on newer Apple Watch models by using a redesign, according to a court filing on Monday. The import ban, imposed by the US International Trade Commission (ITC), originally went into effect on December 26 and applies to Apple’s current Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches. However, Apple appealed the ban and convinced a US appeals court to temporarily pause it. Apple has resumed selling the watches while it challenges the import ruling, arguing that a proposed redesign would address the alleged patent infringement issue. The details of the redesign have not been publicly disclosed, but it may involve updating the watches’ software. It should be noted that the ITC could overrule the customs agency’s decision. Masimo, the medical-monitoring technology company, claims that Apple has stolen its pulse oximetry technology and accuses Apple of hiring its employees. Apple has countersued, alleging that Masimo’s legal actions are a tactic to clear the way for its own smartwatch. The ITC banned the import and sale of Apple Watches with blood-oxygen level reading technology based on Masimo’s patent infringement allegations. Apple began including a pulse oximeter feature in its smartwatches with the Series 6 Apple Watch in 2020. Although Apple briefly halted the sales of its latest Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches in the US due to the ITC decision, they were still available from other US retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, and Walmart. Apple resumed selling the watches on December 27th after the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, based in Washington, temporarily halted the ban while reviewing Apple’s appeal.