The affected models, which the company was previously barred from selling directly amidst a patent dispute, were available again in some Apple Store locations as early as Wednesday, with full availability to resume in all stores soon. As promised earlier, online sales resumed today at 3 p.m. EST.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit responded Wednesday to an appeal Apple filed just a day earlier asking to resume sales of the Apple Watch models included in the ban after President Biden declined to veto the order. This pauses the sales ban for at least two weeks, with the order set to tentatively go back into effect on Wednesday, January 10. The International Trade Commission (ITC) has until that date to file its argument against the pause with the appeals court.
Should the appeals court side with Apple again against the ITC, the sales ban will continue to be temporarily halted throughout the full duration of the appeals procedure. However, if the court does not favor Apple, the sales ban will be reactivated immediately. The full process of considering the ITC’s appeal against Apple’s temporary stay on the ban order is likely to be a lengthy one, meaning that Apple could still get to sell the banned models for a few more months.
As a reminder, the US Customs and Border Protection has until January 12 to separately decide whether redesigned versions of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 would circumvent Masimo’s contested patents. If Apple’s argument is accepted, it could avoid the sales ban altogether by issuing a software update to change algorithms that control and collect data from the blood oxygen sensor.
Masimo had accused Apple of infringing upon its intellectual property related to pulse oximetry, a technology that measures blood oxygen saturation levels. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) subsequently issued an import ban on certain Apple Watch models equipped with this technology, including the popular Series 6 and subsequent models, and all generations of the Apple Watch Ultra.
Apple, however, vehemently contested the ITC’s decision and filed an emergency appeal, seeking a temporary stay on the ban while the legal battle unfolds. On December 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted Apple’s request, resulting in the resumption of sales for the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 online and in-store.