Cupertino, CA – December 18, 2023 – Apple Watch fans in the United States woke up to unexpected news today as the tech giant announced a temporary sales halt for the popular Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models. The move comes following an order from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) related to a patent dispute over blood oxygen monitoring technology used in the watches.

The ITC ruling, issued earlier this month, found that Apple had infringed on patents owned by medical device company Masimo Corporation. The patents pertain to Masimo’s innovative pulse oximetry technology, which measures blood oxygen levels using light instead of the traditional fingertip sensor approach.

While the details of the dispute and the ITC’s ruling remain confidential, the order has resulted in the temporary import ban on Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 devices into the United States. This effectively pauses all domestic sales of both models until the legal matter is resolved.

“We are disappointed with the ITC’s decision and respectfully disagree with it,” Apple said in a statement. “We believe our Apple Watch technology is covered by our own intellectual property and will continue to vigorously defend ourselves in court.”

The news has cast a shadow over Apple’s holiday season sales, as the Apple Watch remains a popular gift and fitness tracker. Analysts estimate the sales pause could cost Apple millions of dollars in lost revenue during the crucial holiday shopping period.

Apple has vowed to work with the ITC and Masimo to reach a resolution, but the timeline for when Apple Watch sales might resume in the US remains unclear. Some experts believe the process could take months, potentially extending into the new year.

For now, American consumers looking to purchase an Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 will need to turn to alternative channels, such as international retailers or online marketplaces. However, with limited supply and potentially inflated prices, finding these models readily available could prove challenging.

The temporary sales halt marks a significant setback for Apple in its smartwatch market dominance. It remains to be seen how the legal battle with Masimo unfolds and how it will impact Apple’s future smartwatch releases and patent strategies.

This news is likely to trigger significant discussion and debate within the technology and legal communities, raising questions about patent protection, innovation, and the potential impact on consumer access to popular tech products.

Important Note: This news is based on publicly available information and may not be complete or entirely accurate. As the legal case is ongoing, further details and developments may emerge in the coming weeks and months.