A temporary dodge of the incoming Apple Watch ban has been turned down by the U.S. International Trade Commission. That leaves Apple with limited options ahead of having to stop sales of the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
As the summary of a new ITC filing states: "Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission (“Commission”) has determined to deny the respondent’s motion to stay remedial orders pending appeal and/or in light of potential government shutdown."
Put simply, the ITC has turned down Apple's suggestion (filed back on October 30 of this year) to hold off on banning sales until it's got an appeal ready or in the case that the federal government shuts up shop due to disputes over funding in Congress, which would impact the activities of the ITC.
We should therefore see Apple's promised timeline of ending sales of the offending Apple Watches go into force. Online Apple Store sales for the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will end today (December 21). In-store sales will see the same shutdown on December 24.
There's still time for the U.S. government to order the ban to not go ahead, but there are only four days left to do so at the time of writing, so it's looking unlikely. When the ban goes into force, it's uncertain how long it will be until the two Apple Watches will be fully available again.
The Watch Ban cometh
In case you've not been following the whole story, the Apple Watch ban is the result of an order from the ITC based on findings that Apple may have been infringing blood oxygen (SpO2) measuring patents owned by Masimo for the past several years. Until a settlement is reached, Apple can't sell the watches containing the offending technology.
Apple's allegedly trying to push through a software update that will disable SpO2 monitoring on its latest smartwatches, but whether this will be enough to satisfy Masimo and the courts is uncertain.
Third-party sales seem to be able to continue for now, although they will run out of stock sooner or later. Apple's also not allowing its employees to refer customers to them, likely to avoid any further legal trouble.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.