Apple Watch import ban quickly stopped by U.S. appeals court docket

Apple smartwatches ads are displayed as customers take a look at smartwatch accessories at the Apple store in New York, U.S., December 26, 2023. 

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Apple will be able to sell the latest Apple Watches after an import ban was temporarily paused by an appeals court on Wednesday, in a major victory for the iPhone maker.

Apple stopped selling its Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches last week in response to an International Trade Commission order in October that found the blood oxygen sensor in the devices had infringed on intellectual property from Masimo, a medical technology company that sells to hospitals.

“The motion for an interim stay is granted to the extent that the Remedial Orders are temporarily stayed,” a court filing Wednesday said.

On Monday, the Biden administration declined to pause the ITC ban. Apple filed the appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Tuesday. The company continues to seek a longer stay. The ITC will need to reply by Jan. 10.

The stay means Apple will be able to sell the latest models of one of its most important products during the busiest time of the year. Apple Watch sales are reported as part of Apple’s wearables business, which reported $39.8 billion in sales in Apple’s fiscal 2023, which ended in September.

The sales pause did not affect the Apple Watch SE, an older model that cannot read blood oxygen levels. The latest Apple Watch models also continued to be available from retailers like Best Buy or Amazon as long as they had stock. 

Masimo shares fell more than 4% during trading Wednesday. Apple’s stock was down less than 1%.

An Apple representative didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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