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Apple Watch might soon face international import ban
March 1, 2023
Earlier this week, the Biden administration declined to veto a recent ruling by the Internation Trade Commission (ITC) which might result in an import ban on the Apple Watch.
In December last year, the ITC had ruled out that Apple had infringed on a California-based startup AliveCor’s heart monitoring technology. For the uninitiated, the tech giant uses electrocardiogram sensors on several Apple Watch models. Apple had tried to lobby the Biden administration to block the potential import ban but ultimately failed.
Now, the matter rests with the federal appeals court, which will decide if Apple Watches will face an international import ban. In 2015, AliveCor shared its technology with Apple in hopes of securing a partnership with the tech giant.
But things took a drastic turn when in 2018, Apple introduced built-in heart rate monitoring sensors on the Apple Watch and blocked third-party apps like AliveCor from accessing the data from the sensor.
However, the import ban appeal process is expected to conclude sometime next year, keeping in mind that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board appeals take somewhere between 12 to 18 months. This means that the Apple Watch will not immediately face an import ban.
According to a recent report by The Hill, AliveCor is ready to settle with Apple and license its heart monitoring technology to the tech giant but the tech giant hasn’t shown any interest in a settlement. The California-based startup AliveCor also claimed that Apple blocked competition and cut off AliveCor users from accessing heart monitoring data with a single update.
Last month, an ITC judge ruled out that Apple indeed infringed on pulse oximeter sensors which were patented by a medical tech company called Masimo. The case is expected to go before the commission sometime this year and might result in another import ban on Apple Watch models which use the technology.
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