Apple to Suspend Some Apple Watch Sales in U.S. Over Patent Dispute

Apple to Halt Sales of Smartwatch After U.S. Import Ban

Updated Dec. 19, 2023 12:26 pm ET

Apple is set to halt sales of its smartwatch in the coming days as it prepares to comply with a U.S. import ban ordered by a federal trade agency that found the company violated patents of a competitor.

The company will pause U.S. online sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 beginning on Dec. 21 and in U.S. stores after Dec. 24, removing from the market a popular Christmas gift just days before the holiday. The Series 9 and Ultra 2 are the primary newer models for sale on the company’s website. The SE, an older model that wasn’t part of the ruling, will continue to be sold. Previously sold watches won’t be affected by the ban.

This sudden move by Apple comes as a blow to both the company and consumers who were looking forward to purchasing the latest smartwatch models during the holiday season. The import ban was ordered after a federal trade agency found Apple guilty of violating patents held by a competitor.

The Apple Watch has become increasingly popular in recent years, with its sleek design and advanced features attracting a large customer base. However, this ban will undoubtedly affect the company’s sales and reputation, as it will be unable to sell its latest models in the U.S. market.

Apple has not yet provided details on how long the sales suspension will last or if it plans to make any changes to the design or features of the affected models in order to comply with the patent infringement ruling. It remains to be seen how this ban will impact the company’s overall smartwatch strategy and whether it will be able to bounce back from this setback.

In the meantime, consumers who were planning to purchase the Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 will need to consider alternative options or wait until the ban is lifted. The older model, Apple Watch SE, is still available for purchase and may be a suitable alternative for those in need of a smartwatch.

This latest development highlights the complex nature of intellectual property disputes in the technology industry. Patents play a crucial role in protecting innovations and ensuring fair competition, but they can also lead to legal battles and market disruptions when infringements are found.

As Apple takes the necessary steps to comply with the import ban, it will be interesting to see how the company responds and whether it can find a resolution to this issue. In the meantime, consumers will have to explore other smartwatch options as they make their holiday purchases.

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