Apple Inc. AAPL has potentially sidestepped an import ban that loomed over its latest Apple Watch models stemming from a patent infringement dispute with medical technology firm Masimo Corporation MASI, according to a Monday report.
Reuters reported the U.S. Customs and Border Protection ruled in favor of Apple’s approach to redesign its product, offering a reprieve from the import ban.
This move effectively nullifies the immediate threat to Apple’s sales of its latest smartwatch models. yet it’s important to note that this decision is not final and could be overturned if the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) disputes it.
While details of this redesign remain undisclosed, it’s speculated to involve significant updates to the watches’ software.
According to insights revealed by Masimo Corp. to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the U.S. Customs agency’s ruling in favor of Apple will involve a software modification that removes the blood oxygen saturation feature from its devices.
The conflict originates from Masimo’s accusations that Apple’s Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches infringed on its blood-oxygen reading patents.
The ITC initially responded with an import ban effective Dec. 26, threatening a key Apple product line.
Apple contested the ruling, proposing a redesign speculated to involve significant software changes, to avoid patent infringement. This move led to a temporary halt of the ban by a U.S. appeals court, allowing Apple to continue sales.
Apple’s ability to potentially bypass the import ban through a redesign underscores the company’s agility in navigating legal and regulatory challenges.
In the third quarter of 2023, the revenue from Apple’s division that includes wearables, home products and accessories, notably featuring the Apple Watch, amounted to $8.28 billion. This figure represents 9% of the total revenue for the Cupertino-based tech giant during that period.
Photo courtesy of Apple.