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Apple won't license Masimo's patents despite Apple Watch import ban

Apple Watch Series 9

Last updated

Apple CEO Tim Cook implies there isn't any intention to license Masimo's blood oxygen detection to end the Apple Watch import ban.

Masimo has been embroiled in a patent lawsuit that most recently resulted in an import ban for Apple Watches with a blood oxygen sensor. Apple opted to disable the sensor to continue sales rather than take any other course of action.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC in a statement shared on live television that Apple is focused on appeals, implying the company has no intention to license Masimo's patents. While it seemed likely that was the case, the company hadn't said as much publicly until now.

"We're focused on appeal," Cook's statement said. "There's lots of reasons to buy the watch even without the blood oxygen sensor."

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are still on sale in the United States where the ITC-mandated import ban is taking place. However, the models being sold have the blood oxygen sensor disabled via software.

Apple Watch models sold before the import ban went into effect on January 18, 2024 will still have functional blood oxygen detection. While Apple hasn't confirmed this, it seems likely that the blood oxygen detection function could be added back via a software update if the import ban ends.

Masimo's CEO has said the company is willing to settle with Apple, but no conversation had started at that point. Now, it is clear Apple has no intention to open negotiations.