A recent decision by Pres. Biden could result in a ban on the Apple Watch. However, the device is unlikely to be pulled from store shelves.


A recent decision by Pres. Biden could set the stage for a potential ban on the Apple Watch in the U.S. following a patent dispute over the device’s ECG feature. The Apple Watch is the best-selling smart wearable in the world, with a 29.8 percent global market share as of Q3, 2022, according to the IDC. The ECG feature debuted with the Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018 and eventually became a standard feature of competing wearables, including Google’s Pixel Watch and recent versions of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch, among others.

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According to an announcement by AliveCor, Pres. Biden has declined to veto a ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that found Apple in violation of ECG patents held by a California-based medical tech company called AliveCor. The ITC’s ruling came last December when the organization issued a Limited Exclusion Order (LEO) and a cease and desist order on the sale of Apple Watches. AliveCor alleged that Apple infringed its ECG patent by using the technology in its smartwatches without permission.

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Potential Apple Watch Ban

Nomad's High Volta iPhone case and Apple Watch Band.
Photo: Brady Snyder

AliveCor says it first shared its ECG technology with Apple in 2015, three years before it was introduced in the Apple Watch Series 4. The technology has since found its way to all subsequent Apple Watch models, including the latest flagship, the Apple Watch Ultra. In a statement following the ITC’s final ruling, AliveCor CEO Priya Abani hailed the decision and claimed that it will have wider repercussions beyond the confines of this case. She said, “This decision goes beyond AliveCor and sends a clear message to innovators that the U.S. will protect patents to build and scale new technologies that benefit consumers.”

On the face of it, a potential Apple Watch ban in the U.S. could just be a matter of time. However, AliveCor has other issues to address before the ITC’s order can go into effect. The United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board had earlier voided AliveCor’s ECG patents that Apple is alleged to have violated. AliveCor has since appealed the ruling, and the Board is currently hearing the case to see if the company’s contentions are valid. If the board’s initial ruling is upheld, the Apple Watch will remain on sale in the country. However, if the ruling is in AliveCor’s favor, it could mean trouble for Apple.

Irrespective of these rulings, the Apple Watch is unlikely to be withdrawn from store shelves. If AliveCor wins the appeal, the two companies will likely negotiate a settlement that will require Apple to pay royalties to use ECG tech in the Apple Watch.

More: Can You Use An Apple Watch With An Android Phone?

Source: AliveCor/PR Newswire



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