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Apple halts Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2 sales in U.S. Apple Stores ahead of ITC ban

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple is no longer selling the Apple Watch Series 9 nor the Apple Watch Ultra 2 through its U.S. Apple Stores, ready for the expected ITC sales ban on December 25.

Apple suspended its online sales of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 on December 21, as part of a prearranged withdrawal of the models in the United States, in advance of a ban on the import and sale of the models on Monday. Just as it had previously advised, Apple is stopping sales of the models from its U.S. Apple Stores.

The ban does stop new stock from entering the country, as well as Apple's selling of the goods, but retailers with existing stock are still free to sell the models after the deadline, albeit limited to only what they have on hand.

The ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) is part of a patent infringement case brought up by medical technology company Masimo. In 2020, Masimo alleged in a lawsuit that Apple violated patents and stole trade secrets to produce the blood pulse oximeter in the Apple Watch, with an ITC filing following in 2021.

Though the initial lawsuit ended in a mistrial, the ITC ruled in January 2023 in favor of Masimo.

The ruling has meant that there will be a ban on imports of Apple Watch models that feature the blood pulse oximeter, though other models that don't use the component won't be affected, such as the Apple Watch SE.

The ban should be going into effect from December 25, but there is a chance that the White House could veto it and allow sales to continue. Apple also must wait for the White House's decision to either allow the ban to take place or veto it before being able to appeal the ITC ruling.

It is in Apple's best interest to appeal, as if left uncontested, the import ban could theoretically last until the patent in question expires in August 2028.