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Apple will stop selling new versions of its watch after losing patent dispute

Apple will stop selling new versions of its watch after losing patent dispute

Apple said on Monday it would stop sales of its flagship smartwatches online starting Thursday and at retail locations on Christmas Eve.

Two months ago, Apple lost a patent case over the technology that its smartwatches used to detect people's pulse rates. The company was ordered to stop selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 after Christmas, which could lead to a surge in sales of the watches in the final weeks of holiday shopping.

Apple's move follows a ruling by the International Trade Commission in October, which found that several Apple Watches infringed on patents held by Masimo, a medical technology company in Irvine, California.

In court, Massimo detailed how Apple preyed on its top executives and more than a dozen other employees before releasing a watch with pulse oximeter capabilities — which Measures the percentage of oxygen carried by red blood cells From the lungs to the body – which was patented by Massimo.

To avoid a complete ban on sales, Apple had two months to cut a deal with Massimo to license its technology, or it could appeal to the Biden administration to reverse the decision.

But Massimo Chief Executive Joe Kiani said in an interview that Apple had not been involved in the licensing negotiations. Instead, he said Apple had appealed to President Biden to veto the ITC decision, which Mr Kiani knows because the administration contacted Massimo about Apple's request.

“They are trying to make the agency look like it is helping patent trolls,” Mr Kiani said of the ITC.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment on Mr Kiani's comments. “Apple strongly disagrees with this order and is pursuing a number of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch remains available to customers,” the company said in a statement.

The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Kiani said he was interested in selling Apple a chip that Massimo had designed to provide pulse oximeter readings on the Apple Watch. Chip is currently in a massimo medical watch, called W1, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The device uses algorithms to process red and near-infrared light to determine how oxygenated the blood is in the arteries.

“If they don't want to use our chip, I will work with them to make their product better,” Mr Kiyani said. “Once it's good enough, I'll be happy to license them.”

Apple introduced its first watch with pulse oximetry in 2020. It includes technology it calls “blood oxygenation” in later models. But unlike Masimo's W1 device, Apple has not approved its watches by the FDA for use as medical devices for pulse oximetry.

According to financial research firm Bernstein Research, the Apple Watch accounts for nearly $20 billion of the company's $383.29 billion annual sales. Apple is the largest smartwatch seller in the world and accounts for almost a third of all smartwatch sales. Counterpoint ResearchA technology research firm.

Apple has had success in the past in convincing presidents to veto ITC decisions. in 2013, Obama administration overturned Sales of some iPhones and iPads were banned after a court determined that Apple infringed patents owned by Samsung.



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