Is the Apple Watch banned in the US? It’s more complicated than that

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Apple infringed the patents of the electrocardiograms of the Apple Watch. A victory for AliveCor who has been fighting for years to have their rights heard. If the marketing of Apple’s connected watches is in jeopardy, this does not mean that their sales will be banned.

Apple Watch Series 8 // Source: Chloé Pertuis for Frandroid

When the Apple Watch 4 was introduced in 2018, one of the big innovations was the arrival of a real electrocardiogram (ECG) integrated into the connected watch. At that time, the head of the startup AliveCor, Vic Gundotra, accused Apple of copying his company’s technology. In 2015, the latter developed a wristband for the Apple Watch equipped with an ECG. The goal was to build an unprecedented partnership with Apple. 9-5Mac reminds that last year AliveCor claims it stole Apple’s patents, requests ITC to ban Apple Watch sales in US “.

Apple has violated the patents for the ECG of the Apple Watch: they can no longer be imported into the United States

This Thursday, December 22nd, the ITC ruled that Apple infringed on the AliveCor patents. In a pending ruling last June, the ITC suggested that Apple would face penalties for infringing those patents on ECGs. A decision that resulted in a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order“.

Press agency Reutersreminds that in OctoberA group of Democratic representatives in Congress asked the ITC not to ban Apple Watch imports“. For him “limiting access to the tech giant’s heart monitoring technology would have a negative impact on public health“.

The famous three crown activities are a true source of daily motivation. // Source: Frandroid – Anthony Wonner

Decisions that could prevent Apple from importing connected watch models into the US that infringe the patents in question. However, enforcement of these orders is suspended until Apple has exhausted all possible remedies. If they were to be implemented, it would affect sales of the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra in the US.

Joe Biden may lift ban on Apple Watch imports

The final decision rests with Joe Biden (or rather his administration), the US president has 60 days to make a decision. A period when he coulddecides to veto the import ban based on political concerns“, exactlyReuters. During this period, the US International Trade Commission “set a $2 fee for each Apple device found to be in serious violation during the president’s inspection period“. The order was also suspended.

It’s not really practical to use the watch when it’s raining // Source: Maxime Grosjean for Frandroid

The news agency said US presidents rarely veto import bans. If Joe Biden decides not to rule after those two months and the import ban is imposed, Apple still has the option of appealing to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The legal battle between Apple and AliveCor will continue

To respond, Apple appealed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), literally the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which is part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The company received from this commission AliveCor technologies “cannot be patentedTo invalidate the decision of the ITC. A recognition reached in early December that AliveCore’s technologies are too generic to be patented, according to the agency.

Here we do an ECG with the Watch Ultra // Source: Chloé Pertuis – Frandroid

On AliveCor’s side, we are pleased with the decision in the press release, which is a win for it, but also “other innovative small businessesand more for consumers. As for Apple, the company said it disagreed with the ITC’s decision, but was pleased that the import ban had been lifted.

Apple responded with another lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco.alleged patent infringement“. AliveCor replied:Antitrust lawsuit alleging that Apple blocked competitors’ apps by limiting third-party apps’ access to the heart rate monitor“, exactly9-5Mac. This trial will take place in early 2024 in the Northern District of California, and AliveCor is seeking assistance.”anti-competitive behavior“. One more complaint was filed by the company.”related patent infringementthis time in Texas federal court.

This is not the first time Apple has been sued for patent infringement. Three years ago, the company had to pay $31 million to Qualcomm for this.

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