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Apple Watch models face US import ban in patent clash

Apple Watch models face US import ban in patent clash

27 October 2023

San Francisco (AFP) -

Medical technology company Masimo Corp. on Thursday said a US trade commission has recommended banning imports of Apple Watch models that infringe its light technology for detecting blood oxygen levels.

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) issued a 'limited exclusion order' set to go into effect in 60 days if not nixed by President Joe Biden, according to California-based Masimo.

'Today's ruling by the USITC sends a powerful message that even the world's largest company is not above the law,' Masimo chief executive Joe Kiani said in a release.

'This important determination is a strong validation of our efforts to hold Apple accountable for unlawfully misappropriating our patented technology.'

The order stemmed from a complaint made to the commission in mid-2021 accusing Apple Watch of infringing on its patented technology for 'light-based oximetry functionality.'

Apple has been steadily ramping up fitness and health features with each generation of Apple Watch, which market trackers say dominates the smartwatch category.

'Our teams work tirelessly to create products and services that empower users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features,' Apple said in response to an AFP inquiry.

'Masimo has wrongly attempted to use the ITC to keep a potentially lifesaving product from millions of US consumers while making way for their own watch that copies Apple.'

Apple said it will appeal the order in federal court.

Apple last month released its Apple Watch Series 9, touting increased performance along with features such as the ability to access and log health data.

'Apple Watch is an indispensable companion that helps millions of people with their health, fitness, communications, and safety,' Apple chief operation officer Jeff Williams said at the launch.

Apple this week added the ability to control its latest watch models with a 'double tap gesture' that does not involve touching the screen because the device senses the finger movement.

'Users can tap the index finger and thumb of their watch hand together twice to quickly perform many of the most common actions,' Apple said in a release.