Apple Faces Potential Watch Import Ban

Apple may soon face the problem of banning the import of its watches.

Apple Faces Potential Watch Import Ban

Last week, the media reported that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a ruling according to which the watches produced by this brand violate the patent rights of the medical technology company Masimo.

Joe Kiani, founder, chairman, and CEO of Masimo, said that the ITC decision is a powerful signal that even a giant like Apple is not above the law. He also noted that the commission’s resolution can be described as an important confirmation of the brand’s efforts in bringing the iPhone manufacturer to justice for misappropriating patented technology on an illegal basis.

The ITC decision has not yet entered into force, its effect will not be immediate. The media reported that the President of the United States Joe Biden may review the commission’s decision within 60 days. Apple also has the option to appeal.

Masimo, specializing in the development of medical technologies, sued Tim Cook’s company in 2020. At that time, an accusation of theft of trade secrets was made against the iPhone manufacturer. Masimo said that Apple illegally seized internal information about health monitoring technology. The accusation also contained claims against Tim Cook’s company about stealing away main employees.

Masimo has developed signal-processing technology for medical monitors. This company and its spinoff Cercacor Laboratories stated that Apple factually acted under false pretenses. Initially, Tim Cook’s firm demonstrated its intention to establish partnerships with these brands, and then hired their important employees and stole technology.

An Apple representative, in response to a media request regarding claims from Masimo, said that this company mistakenly tried to use ITC to hide from American consumers a product that could potentially save lives and at the same time to give way to its watches copying a similar development of the iPhone manufacturer. Tim Cook’s firm employee also noted that the commission’s decision would not have a direct impact on the Apple Watch sales process, but it should be canceled. The iPhone manufacturer will continue to try to appeal.

The commission’s decision is really not yet a factor influencing the Apple Watch sales process, but over time this decision may turn into serious consequences for Tim Cook’s company. The very fact of the brand’s intention to appeal indicates that the firm’s management is aware of the relevant threat and is trying to prevent its implementation.

In the ITC decision, there is no information about which Apple Watch models will be in the area of the ban. Massimo’s complaint alleged that the 2020 Series 6, Tim Cook’s company’s first device with a blood oxygen monitoring function, violated its patents. Also, the medical technology firm stated that the Apple Watch, which appeared due to ignoring copyrights, was made in China. After that, the production of the corresponding devices was transferred to Vietnam.

The Consumer Federation of America stated that there is no greater violation of antitrust and intellectual property laws than cases when a company with a dominant position does not comply with the rules regarding a patent of a smaller competitor. The organization also noted that Apple’s abuse of market power entails harm that far outweighs the benefits.

In September, Tim Cook’s company presented a new watch that has a double-touch function that allows users to interact with this device without touching it. When a person touches his thumb and index finger twice, the sensors record the movement and allow the action to be performed. These sensors can also monitor heart rate and control blood flow.

Currently, there is an increase in demand for so-called connected devices in the consumer environment, with the help of which it is possible to track what fits the definition of quantitative indicators of the life process. Such developments can count the number of steps taken, analyze the work of body systems, and perform several other similar tasks. The mentioned user interest is already manifested in an increase in sales volumes.

The results of special studies have shown that in the United States, 26% of consumers use digital channels to monitor their health daily. Also, 11% of respondents use special devices to check the quality of the body’s systems functioning every week.

Apple’s business of manufacturing wearable devices, household goods, and accessories in the third quarter of this year brought the company a profit of $8.28 billion.

As we have reported earlier, Apple Reveals Plan to Democratize Repairs.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.