Apple has officially resumed sales of its latest Apple Watches, including the Series 9 and Ultra 2, in select physical Apple stores. This move comes after a temporary pause in the sales and import ban imposed by a federal appeals court. The ban, instigated by the US International Trade Commission due to patent violations against medical device maker Masimo, had previously led to the suspension of sales for both products in the US.
The decision to lift the ban temporarily allows Apple to continue selling its watches while awaiting a verdict on proposed changes aimed at addressing the patent issues. The US Customs and Border Protection is scheduled to rule on these changes on January 12th. If the proposed alterations are not accepted, the court is considering whether to further delay the ban until a resolution is reached in the ongoing patent dispute, potentially extending the ban for several more months.
In response to these developments, Apple spokesperson Nikki Rothberg stated, “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.”
Ahead of the ban taking effect on December 26th, Apple had proactively removed the Series 9 and Ultra 2 from both online and physical stores. The ban specifically targeted devices equipped with a blood oxygen saturation sensor, a feature introduced in flagship watches since the Series 6. Notably, the lower-priced Apple Watch SE, which lacks this sensor, remained available for purchase.
While third-party retailers were allowed to continue selling their existing stock of Apple Watches during the ban, the import restrictions would eventually hinder them from acquiring additional units in the future. Apple anticipates wider availability of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 in both physical stores and online sales by Saturday, with online sales set to resume at 3 PM ET tomorrow.