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Apple to sell Apple Watch with blood oxygen detection removed to bypass ITC import ban

Apple Watch Series 9

After Apple's failed bid to keep selling Apple Watch models with blood oxygen detection during an appeal process, the company will simply sell the affected models with the feature removed.

Masimo and Apple are locked in a legal battle over an alleged patent violation for blood oxygen detection. The International Trade Commission (ITC) recommended an import ban on affected devices, which Apple has failed repeatedly to have stayed during appeals processes.

As a result, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are meant to be removed from sale on January 18 if unchanged. However, Apple has models ready to sell without blood oxygen detection, which passed Customs and is allowed to be sold despite the import ban.

Apple shared a statement with media outlets seen by AppleInsider explaining the situation.

"Apple's appeal is ongoing, and we believe the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should reverse the USITC's decision. We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting orders.

Pending the appeal, Apple is taking steps to comply with the ruling while ensuring customers have access to Apple Watch with limited disruption. These steps include introducing a version of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States without the Blood Oxygen feature. There is no impact to Apple Watch units previously purchased that include the Blood Oxygen feature.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 without the Blood Oxygen feature will become available from starting 6am PT on January 18, and from Apple Stores starting January 18."

Anyone who purchased an Apple Watch before January 18 will have functioning blood oxygen detection. Those seeking an Apple Watch with the feature enabled will need to purchase one from non-Apple retailers, which should still have stock of the original models and are not required to cease sales.

The appeal process could take over a year, in which case Apple Watch Series 10 and other models could launch with alterations that avoid Masimo's patents altogether. Whatever happens with the case, Apple is unwilling to settle.