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Court denies Apple’s request to pause ban on watch sales

A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected Apple’s request to pause an import ban on several of its smartwatches, once again barring the company from selling the products within the U.S.

However, the decision comes just days after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) found that a redesigned version of the Apple Watch models that do not have the pulse oximetry feature were not subject to the ban and could be sold in the country.

The pulse oximetry feature is at the heart of the protracted legal battle between Apple and the medical technology company Masimo, which has accused Apple of poaching employees and stealing trade secrets related to the technology.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of Masimo in late October, teeing up an import ban on Apple’s latest smartwatch models. The iPhone-maker briefly pulled the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 from shelves last month, as it prepared for the ban to go into effect.

However, the company was able to resume sales within days, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted its request for a temporary stay while it considered allowing a longer-term stay pending appeal.

With the court’s decision on Wednesday not to grant a longer-term pause on the import ban, the interim stay is also set to be lifted on Thursday afternoon.

Apple plans to make the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without the blood oxygen feature available online and in stores starting Thursday, a company spokesperson said.

“Apple’s appeal is ongoing, and we believe the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should reverse the USITC’s decision,” the spokesperson said. “We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting orders.”

“Pending the appeal, Apple is taking steps to comply with the ruling while ensuring customers have access to Apple Watch with limited disruption,” they added.

Updated Jan. 17 10:27 p.m. ET.

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