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Apple can sell its watches again. Watch Snitz play lawyer!

I'm not a lawyer but I play one on TV. A really aggressive shyster lawyer I might add. I was born for this part. Besides, I know more than most of those silk stocking dilettantes...take that Wachtel Lipton. Eat me.


Where was I? Ah yes. The more Apple Watches are sold the better for all concerned. If the patent case has merit, the damages in favor of the plaintiff will grow proportionally as Apple sells more! Everyone comes out a winner. If the suit doesn't have merit, well their lawyers loose big and that's a winner too! I love seeing the attorneys get hammered.




Apple Can Restart Watch Sales as U.S. Court Pauses Ban

A U.S. appeals court temporarily lifted a federal agency’s import ban on Apple watch models while it weighs Apple’s request to suspend the ban during litigation over patents

By Aaron Tilley, WSJ

Updated Dec. 27, 2023 12:47 pm ET


Apple won a temporary reprieve for its $18 billion smartwatch business after a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday paused a federal agency’s import ban on most of its watch models.

The ruling will allow sales to resume in the coming weeks while the court weighs Apple’s request to pause the ban pending its appeal of an October decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The commission banned the import into the U.S. of some versions of the Apple Watch over violations of patents of Masimo MASI -5.26%decrease; red down pointing triangle, an Irvine, Calif.-based medical technology company.


Separately, Apple has sought approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on redesigned versions of the two watch models subject to the ban. The customs office is responsible for enforcing import bans and is scheduled to decide on Jan. 12 whether Apple’s redesign complies with the trade agency’s finding. The Biden administration declined to overturn the ruling by a Dec. 25 deadline.


The technical fix could also allow the watches to be sold in the U.S. again. Apple halted some watch sales Dec. 21 online and in stores after Dec. 24. The ban included the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models, which make up most of the company’s watch models.


The Wall Street Journal reported in April that Masimo and a number of other smaller companies alleged that Apple copied their technology and used an aggressive legal strategy through the U.S. patent system to avoid paying royalties. Apple said at the time that it doesn’t steal technology and accused Masimo of copying Apple.


While Apple’s watch business is tiny compared with iPhone revenue, accounting for about 5% of overall sales in fiscal 2023, the device plays an important role in the company’s growing health ambitions. It is also by far the largest smartwatch vendor, representing 30% of all smartwatches shipped and nearly 60% of total global sales, according to Counterpoint Research.


After the October order from the trade commission, the Biden administration had 60 days to overrule the agency’s ruling, with Christmas Day as the final day for intervention. In the two-month period that followed the order, Apple didn’t engage with Masimo over any potential settlement, Masimo said.


The patented technology in dispute is a sensor called a pulse oximeter that measures the blood oxygen levels of users. Masimo, a leading provider of that type of sensor, alleged to the commission in 2021 that Apple had violated its patents when Apple began including a pulse oximeter in its smartwatches beginning with the Series 6 model released in 2020.

Masimo and Apple began their relationship in 2013. Apple had invited Masimo’s executives to its corporate campus to learn more about the company’s health-sensing technology and discuss potential integration opportunities. Internally, Apple executives even discussed the possibility of acquiring Masimo and making its chief executive, Joe Kiani, a vice president, according to documents made public in litigation. Apple decided against buying it because “acquisitions of this size aren’t our style,” according to an internal company email.


Rather than joining with or buying Masimo, Apple chose to hire its engineers and work on similar technology itself, Masimo said.


This early sequence of events between Masimo and Apple followed a pattern, the Journal reported. A number of small technology companies alleged that Apple would begin early partnership discussions, only to abandon them and then copy their technology.


If companies pursued Apple in courts over intellectual property claims, Apple would respond with an aggressive legal strategy through the U.S. patents system to avoid having to pay royalties, these companies alleged. Apple said it doesn’t steal technology and its use of the patent system is fair and consistent with other companies of its size.

Write to Aaron Tilley at aaron.tilley@wsj.com

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