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Apple Races to Salvage Watch Business Amid US Ban Threat

Apple engineers are racing to modify the software which powers the company’s smart watches as the US looks to ban the products due to an intellectual property theft dispute.

Masimo Corp, a health tech company, claims that Apple stole its patents in the algorithm used in its watches, especially in the blood oxygen level measurement feature.

A US judge ruled in Masimo’s favour in January but the tech giant is appealing the decision, awaiting a presidential review by Joe Biden, who can veto the ban.

Now Apple engineers are working to tweak how the technology measures oxygen saturation and presents this data to users, according to Bloomberg.

On Monday, Apple said it is “pre-emptively” halting US sales of its two latest apple Watch models, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, on December 21 online and after December 24 in stores.

The announcement came after the US International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a “limited exclusion order”, which bans the importation of specific products into the US if they infringe a patent.

It will only affect sales in the US but it will impact the company during a crucial holiday period. Apple’s wearables division, which its watches are a part of, is Apple’s second largest product line behind the iPhone.

Apple said it “strongly disagrees”with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers.”

“Should the order stand, Apple will continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the US as soon as possible,” the company added.

In October, Masimo chief executive Joe Kiani said that the ITC’s ruling “sends a powerful message that even the world’s largest company is not above the law”.

Source : City A.M