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© Reuters. New Apple Watches Series 9 are displayed during the ‘Wonderlust’ event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2023. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

(Reuters) -Apple said on Monday it would pause sales of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the United States from this week, as it deals with a patent dispute over the technology that enables the blood oxygen feature on the devices.

The move comes after an order in October from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that could bar Apple (NASDAQ:) from importing its Apple Watches after finding the devices violate medical technology company Masimo (NASDAQ:)’s patent rights.

A Presidential review period is in progress on the feature and while the review period will not end until Dec. 25, Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand, the company said.

The company said it would pause sales of the Watches from its website starting Dec. 21, and from Apple retail locations after Dec. 24.

Both the Series 9 and the Ultra 2 would remain available for purchase outside of the United States and there would be no impact on units previously bought that include the blood oxygen feature.

Apple believes the ITC’s finding was erroneous and should be reversed and intends to appeal the decision to the Federal Circuit.

Masimo has accused Apple of hiring away its employees, stealing its pulse oximetry technology and incorporating it into the popular Apple Watch.

A jury trial on Masimo’s allegations in California federal court ended with a mistrial in May. Apple has separately sued Masimo for patent infringement in a federal court in Delaware and has called Masimo’s legal actions a “maneuver to clear a path” for its own competing smartwatch.

A presidential administration has not vetoed an ITC ruling since 2013, when President Barack Obama’s administration overturned an import ban on Apple’s iPhones and iPads from a patent dispute with Samsung (KS:).

The Biden administration in February chose not to veto a separate import ban on Apple Watches based on a patent-infringement complaint from medical technology company AliveCor. The ITC has placed the ban on hold for other reasons.

Apple’s wearables, home and accessory business, which includes the Apple Watch, AirPods earbuds and other products, brought in $8.28 billion in revenue during the third quarter of 2023, according to a company report.

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