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Apple Watch sales ban: After plea dismissed, will you be able to buy any for Christmas? Find out

The end of the year keeps getting worse for Apple and it comes at the worst time as Christmas is near. On Monday, December 18, Apple announced that it would be halting the sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in its online and physical stores from December 21 onwards, as a result of a ruling by the International Trade Commission in October. The ruling was on the long-running patent dispute between Apple and Masimo, a medtech company over the former’s SpO2 (blood oxygen) sensor. To push the deadline of the sales to a later date, as it falls during a very busy holiday season, Apple filed a motion to ITC in a last-ditch attempt. However, ITC has now denied the request to halt the Apple Watch sales ban.

The Verge spotted the filing where ITC denied Apple’s request. In the statement, it said, “For the reasons discussed in the Commission Opinion issued concurrently herewith, the Commission has determined to deny Apple’s motion to stay the remedial orders pending appeal and/or in light of a potential government shutdown”. This, in effect, means Apple will have to stop selling its latest-generation smartwatches starting today.

Apple loses plea to halt Apple Watch sales ban

It should be noted that the ban is only applicable in the US, and particularly stops Apple from selling its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 through its official channels. Third-party retailers will still be able to sell the device as long as their supply lasts.

In October, the International Trade Commission ruled that Apple violates Masimo patents and would need to halt sales of infringing devices. The patents relate to an Apple Watch app that allows the device to calculate a person’s blood oxygen saturation.

This ban will impact Apple severely as the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 generate the vast majority of the company’s watch sales (since Apple tends to phase out the older generation smartwatches from its catalogs). Apple doesn’t say how much revenue the device brings in, but it’s a core part of its Wearables, Home, and Accessories business, which generates more than 40 billion dollars a year.

The timing of the ban is also significant as Apple sales peak around the holiday season which starts near Christmas and goes till the New Year. Even if a ban reversal can occur at a later date, Apple would have missed this big opportunity.

The devices will removed from Apple’s online store at 3 PM New York time on Thursday. Apple said there would be no impact on watches already sold to customers. The SE model, which lacks the blood oxygen feature, also remains on sale.

What happens now?

“A Presidential Review Period is in progress regarding an order from the US International Trade Commission on a technical intellectual property dispute pertaining to Apple Watch devices containing the Blood Oxygen feature,” Apple said. “While the review period will not end until December 25, Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand.”

This means the company’s last hopes are stuck on US President Joe Biden to veto the ITC’s decision. Apple has already begun the process of seeking the Presidential Review, but the outcome will not come before December 25, when the fate of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will finally be decided.

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