Not even Apple is immune to international trade regulations. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued an order that could potentially prohibit Apple from importing Apple Watches into the United States. Let’s explore the reasons behind this possible ban and its implications for the tech giant.
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Reasons Why Apple Watch Imports May Be Banned in the U.S.
You might be wondering how Apple, one of the most prominent tech companies in the U.S., could find itself in such a sticky situation. Here are the three key factors contributing to the jeopardy faced by the popular wearable:
1. Infringement of a Medical Tech Company
At the heart of this controversy lies a medical tech company called Masimo. In January, a U.S. judge ruled in Masimo’s favor regarding Apple’s infringement of a Masimo patent for “light-based pulse oximetry functionality and components.” In simpler terms, this patent covers the blood-oxygen tracking feature introduced with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has been found in violation of another company’s patents related to the Apple Watch. Last December, the ITC ruled that Apple infringed upon patents held by a company called AliveCor in relation to the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram (ECG) technology. However, the ban order for that specific case is currently on hold.
2. Failure of a Presidential Veto
The alleged wrongdoing by Apple is the primary reason why the ban on Apple Watch imports is being considered. However, there is a slim chance for Apple to evade this ban. According to Reuters, the Biden administration has a 60-day window to issue a veto against the import ban order. Unfortunately, such vetoes are rare, and there is no indication thus far that one will occur this time. Apple can only hope for the best and keep its fingers crossed.
3. A Rejection of Apple’s Appeal
There is another avenue for Apple to explore in this case. Once the 60-day review period is over, Apple can file an appeal, which is typical in legal cases like this. However, it is too early to determine whether Apple’s appeal will be successful. Additionally, it is uncertain which Apple Watch models would be impacted by the ban if it is implemented. Legal proceedings of this nature take time to unfold.
In the meantime, Apple should focus on finding ways to implement new features without infringing upon other companies’ patents. This would help ensure the continued availability of Apple Watches in the U.S.
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