US Apple Watch ban confirmed as first sales deadline hit — The Series 9 and Ultra 2 are set to be removed from Apple's online store today

Apple Watch Ultra 2
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has lost its legal bid to halt an import ban on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the U.S., as both models are set to be pulled from its online store in the country on Thursday. 

As reported by The Verge, the International Trade Commission (ITC) has denied Apple’s bid to get the ban halted while both parties await the outcome of an appeal against a ruling that states Apple infringed on Blood Oxygen monitoring patents held by Masimo. It means that, save a Presidential veto from the White House by December 25, Apple will be officially banned from importing the device for sale into the country from December 26. Apple announced this week it would stop selling both offending models in anticipation of the ban. Both are set to be removed from Apple.com on Thursday and will be removed from its brick-and-mortar stores after December 24.

The wording of Apple’s statement Monday made it clear that while Christmas Eve would be the last day you’ll be able to buy one in-store, the company would pause sales at Apple.com “starting” on December 21. At the time of going to print early Thursday, both models were still available to buy.

Another Apple Watch blow 

The ITC ruling simply states it has “ determined to deny the respondent’s motion to stay remedial orders pending appeal and/or in light of potential government shutdown.” Apple was found to have infringed on patents held by Masimo earlier this year. The IP relates to the method Apple uses to monitor and deliver blood oxygen readings to wearers of its current best Apple Watch models. The Apple Watch SE is immune because it doesn’t carry the feature. 

According to reports, Apple is working behind the scenes on a technical workaround that would change the way this information is recorded and delivered so as not to infringe on the aforementioned patents, such that Apple could put them back on sale. Apple has also said it strongly disagrees with the ITC ruling and is also pursuing legal options. The only reprieve for Apple would be a Presidential veto of the ban, however, withdrawing the offending models from sales seems to indicate Apple isn’t hopeful of this. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9