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Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2 return to Apple Stores

Apple Watch Ultra

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Apple has started to sell the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra in some physical Apple Stores in the United States after temporarily fending off the ITC sales and import ban, with online sales expected on Thursday.

Just two days after the U.S. International Trade Commission's import ban stopped Apple from bringing more Apple Watches into the country, Apple managed to convince the Federal Court of Appeals to stay the ITC order. Now, Apple has reintroduced its latest Apple Watch models back to retail.

Apple pulled the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 from sale in its stores on December 24, and from December 21 for its online store, in anticipation of the ban's implementation on December 25.

Apple spokesperson Nikki Rothberg informed The Verge that the two models are back and available in some physical Apple Stores, with wider availability expected by Saturday. Online sales will start again at 3 PM Eastern time on Thursday, December 28.

"Apple's teams have worked tirelessly over many years to develop technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features and we are pleased the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stayed the exclusion order while it considers our request to stay the order pending our full appeal," said Rothberg in a statement to the publication.

Apple's December 26 appeal did result in a delay in the ban until the court considers and issues a full ruling on the patent infringement case between Apple and wearables producer Masimo.

It is unknown exactly how long the Apple Watch stay of execution will be, as it could range between weeks and months based on the usual pace of the judicial system. When the full ruling gets published, either the ban will be reinstated, blocking imports and sales once again, or it will be called off.

Apple is working on ways to get around the sales ban, just in case it does get reintroduced. One of those ideas involves a software change to disable the feature, though Masimo believes that won't work because the patent involves the physical hardware.

Masimo vs. Apple: The Story So Far

Medical company Masimo sued Apple in District Court in 2020 for alleged patent violations concerning the Apple Watch blood pulse oximeter, following up with an ITC filing in 2021. Though the District Court action ended in a mistrial, the ITC ruled in January in favor of Masimo.

In October, the ITC issued an order that would bar Apple from importing any infringing Apple Watch models, followed by a 60-day period of review for the White House to potentially veto. Since the veto didn't happen, the ban went into effect on December 25.

Days before the ban, Apple pulled sales of both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from its online and physical storefronts in the United States.

On December 26, Apple filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to temporarily stay the ITC's ban, a motion it was granted one day later.