Victoria Song, a senior reporter with 11 years of experience in wearables and health tech, recently covered Apple’s appeal to the Federal Circuit regarding the ban on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 sales. The ban was imposed by the International Trade Commission (ITC) due to alleged infringements on medical device-maker Masimo’s pulse oximetry patents. Apple’s appeal, consisting of a 916-page document, questions the legitimacy of the ban and raises concerns about the potential implications for future cases.

One of the main arguments put forth by Apple in its appeal is the lack of evidence of a domestic industry being harmed by the alleged patent infringements. The company points out that Masimo, primarily known for clinical pulse oximeters, did not even have a smartwatch on the market at the time of filing the complaint with the ITC. Apple questions the validity of the case, citing the absence of tangible products or “articles” to support Masimo’s claims.

Apple’s appeal also references a previous case, ClearCorrect Operating, LLC v. International Trade Commission, where the Federal Circuit ruled that 3D models transmitted over the internet do not fall under the jurisdiction of the ITC. This ruling is crucial in understanding Apple’s argument that CAD drawings provided by Masimo do not constitute physical “articles” that the ITC can regulate. By pointing out these technicalities, Apple aims to invalidate the basis of the ban on its smartwatches.

Concerns and Implications

The crux of Apple’s concern lies in the potential precedent set by upholding the ITC’s decision. If the ban on Apple Watch sales is upheld, Apple fears that other companies may exploit similar strategies to restrict its market presence. AliveCor, another medical tech company, has already filed a case with the ITC against Apple for alleged infringements on its EKG technology. The complexity of these legal battles and the involvement of multiple regulatory bodies create uncertainties about the future of innovation in the wearable tech industry.

Final Thoughts

The appeal filed by Apple against the ban on Apple Watch sales sheds light on the intricate legal processes and technical nuances involved in intellectual property disputes. The company’s meticulous scrutiny of the evidence presented by Masimo and the ITC underscores the high stakes involved in such cases. As the wearable tech market continues to evolve, the outcomes of these legal battles will shape the landscape for future innovations and competition. Only time will tell how these complex legal issues will be resolved and what implications they will have for the industry as a whole.


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