Apple stopped selling its latest smartwatches, the Watch Series 9 and the Watch Ultra 2, in the US market after a ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC).
The ITC issued an import ban on the devices, following a patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo over its SpO2 sensor, which measures blood oxygen levels.
Starting December 21, shoppers can no longer order the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Watch Series 9 on Apple’s website in the U.S. In-store inventory will also run out by December 24, according to Apple.
Apple says that the ITC’s ban only impacts sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 because those devices offer blood oxygen monitoring capabilities, a feature that was introduced in September 2020.
The blood oxygen sensor is one of the key selling points of the new Apple Watch models, as it can help users detect health issues such as sleep apnea, COVID-19, and heart problems.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is developing software updates to modify the way the Apple Watch calculates and displays oxygen levels in the blood. Apple also said that it will propose a solution to the ITC to avoid the ban.
Masimo, which filed a complaint against Apple in January 2020, claims that Apple infringed on its patents and poached its employees to develop the SpO2 sensor. Masimo also alleges that Apple’s sensor is inaccurate and unreliable and that it could harm consumers who rely on it for medical purposes.
Apple has denied the allegations and has argued that Masimo’s patents are invalid and that its sensor is based on its technology and research.
The ITC is an independent federal agency that can block the import of products that violate US intellectual property rights. The ITC’s rulings can be overturned by the US president or a federal court.