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Apple gets brief stay on ITC ruling to block watch imports over disputed tech

Apple on Tuesday filed an appeal to stay a ban on imports of its Apple Watch Ultra 2, pictured here, and Apple Watch Series 9 products as it awaits approval on redesigned versions. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Apple on Tuesday filed an appeal to stay a ban on imports of its Apple Watch Ultra 2, pictured here, and Apple Watch Series 9 products as it awaits approval on redesigned versions. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday paused a ban on certain Apple Watch products that had been banned by the International Trade Commission because of a patent dispute ruling.

The ban, which went into effect on Tuesday, was stopped after Apple filed and persuaded the appeals court to wait until U.S. Customs and Border Protection can determine if changes it's making to the Apple Watch would be enough to avoid the patent dispute that led to the ban.

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The decision allows sales of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 products to resume.

U.S. Customs is not expected to issue its decision until Jan. 12.

Apple filed an emergency appeal in federal court requesting a stay of the International Trade Commission's ruling to ban the watches, citing the loss of sales it would experience after pulling the devices from shelves.

"Apple will suffer irreparable harm if the orders are left in place while the Stay Motion is being briefed and decided because they will bar Apple from importing and selling its two most popular Apple Watch models -- the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 with blood oxygen sensing functionality -- to potentially millions of U.S. consumers who wish to buy them," Apple wrote.

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The commission had ruled in October in favor of the medical device company Masimo Corp., which charged that Apple violated its patents and intellectual property in connection with items that appear in the two Apple products. The White House said on Tuesday it would not intervene in the ITC's decision.

The commission gave Apple two months after its October ruling to either work out a licensing deal with Masimo or appeal the order. The tech giant had hoped for the Biden administration, which could have overruled the ITC, to step into the matter but the U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai opted not to.

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