Apple Watch Series 9

Apple to Remove Blood-Oxygen Tool From Apple Watches

Software Workaround to avoid Apple Watch Sales Ban

Apple Watch US Sales Ban - Story 7 of 8

Apple is planning to remove its blood-oxygen feature from the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, to circumvent a US ban of the devices if an appeal of the decision fails.

The plan was disclosed Monday by Masimo, which has been locked in a feud with Apple over patents related to the technology. It said that US Customs and Border Protection approved the move on Jan. 12.

The agency “decided that Apple’s redesign falls outside the scope” of an import ban by the US International Trade Commission (ITC), signaling that the adjustment will let Apple keep its watches on the market.

The ITC had ruled in October that Apple’s devices violated Masimo patents related to blood-oxygen measurement. That led Apple to pause sales of the smartwatches just ahead of Christmas, though an interim stay allowed the company to bring the products back late last month.

Apple developed a software workaround intended to sidestep the dispute and presented the solution last week to the customs agency, which is in charge of enforcing import bans. Apple explained that the redesigned watches “definitively” do not contain the technology at issue, known as pulse oximetry, according to Masimo.

The dramatic step would probably only take place if Apple fails to win a longer stay from a federal appeals court. The company said Monday it expects the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to rule on its motion for a stay for the entire appeal period as early as Tuesday. The company said it believes the period could last a year or more.