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Apple Watch ban is put on hold by appeals court

Apple won a temporary reprieve in the legal battle over its Apple Watch product, with an appeals court on Wednesday ordering a pause on a ban of the product that went into effect on Tuesday. 

The court gave the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) until January 10 to respond to Apple’s request for a longer stay while the issue moves through the courts, according to the ruling.

The Apple Watch ban would have paused sales on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, which include a blood oxygen monitor that is at the center of a patent dispute. The ITC had banned the import of the watches because it ruled that the tech giant had illegally used blood oxygen technology from Masimo, a medical tech company. 

In a statement provided to CBS News, Apple said it was “thrilled to return the full Apple Watch lineup to customers in time for the new year.”

It said both models, “including the blood oxygen feature,” would be available for purchase in Apple stores in the U.S. beginning Wednesday, and on the company’s website starting at noon Pacific time on Thursday. 

The company also noted that along with the federal appeals process, it was pursuing various legal and technical options, including submitting proposed redesigns of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for approval.  

Masimo did not immediately responded to requests for comment.

The Biden administration let the ITC decision stand on Tuesday, effectively blocking the sale of the watches in the U.S.

On Tuesday, Apple filed an emergency motion seeking court permission to begin selling two of its most popular watches again until a final decision on its broader appeal in a bitter patent dispute is decided.

Apple had cut off sales right before the Christmas holiday. In a motion filed Tuesday, the Cupertino, California-based company said it would suffer “irreparable harm” if previous court orders remained for the two weeks it said the U.S. International Trade Commission will take to respond to its appeal.

The disruption will likely cost Apple about $300-$400 million in holiday-season sales, estimated Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives. That’s a relative drop in the bucket for Apple, given that industry analysts are expecting the company to generate nearly $120 billion in sales this quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season.

With reporting by the Associated Press.

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