The Apple Watch has been banned again and it's likely to stay that way

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 have been banned again and Apple might have to remove functionality to fix the situation.

1 minute & 42 seconds read time

Apple has been told that it has to stop selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 smartwatches in the United States all over again. The news relates to an ongoing legal dispute over the use of blood oxygen-sensing technology that is used in those two models.

That technology has already been found to infringe upon a patent owned by the medical device firm Masimo, a company that Apple was once said to have tried to buy. A ban was previously ordered before Apple was able to get a stay on the ban while the initial stages of its appeals process were underway. However, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declined Wednesday to grant Apple a longer pause.

The Apple Watch has been banned again and it's likely to stay that way 02

Apple had to briefly stop selling the affected Apple Watches over the Christmas period before the stay was applied, but the ban will once again begin tomorrow which means that Apple Stores and Apple's online presence will have to stop selling these models at that time. An import ban will also come into effect. That means that while third-party retailers can continue to sell the wearables, they will not be able to replenish their stocks once they run dry.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who was the first to share details of the new ban, believes that Apple will now have to go the nuclear route of simply removing the blood oxygen functionality from the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. Whether it does that via a software update to leave the possibility of enabling it again at a late date remains to be seen, It's an approach that could make sense, especially if Apple intends to find another way around the ban should its patent case appeal fall on deaf ears.

Masimo's CEO has previously hinted that his company would be willing to license the blood oxygen technology to Apple for a fee, but that is so far something that has not happened.

This latest news does not affect any Apple Watches that have already been sold of course, while the Apple Watch SE is also unaffected. That model does not feature the blood oxygen sensor that is at the hart of this situation, ensuring that it will remain on store shelves and in Apple Stores across the United States as if nothing had happened.

All eyes will now very much be on Apple to see what it does next, but it won't want its best Apple Watches to be unavailable for any longer than they have to be.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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