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Apple is now selling Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 with disabled blood oxygen monitor

If you’re in the US, any Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 model you buy from Apple will no longer have a functional blood oxygen monitoring feature. Apple failed to convince the court to allow it to keep selling the aforementioned models while it’s appealing a ruling by the US International Trade Commission (ITC). If you’ll recall, the commission found that Apple had violated patents owned by medical technology company Masimo, which accused the iPhone-maker of infringing on its intellectual properties related to light-based blood-oxygen monitoring. The ITC ordered the company to stop selling the contested watches.

Apple pulled the Watch models from its website and stores in December before the the ban took effect as a preemptive measure. A few days later, though, the company put them back up for sale after a federal appeals court in Washington D.C. granted it a temporary pause on the import and sales ban. Now, the appeals court has lifted the stay and ordered Apple to stop selling both models again by 5PM ET on January 18.

The company, however, is able to skirt the ban, because the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently decided that redesigned watches without a pulse oximetry functionality fall outside the scope of the ITC’s ruling. In a statement sent to 9to5Mac, Apple said it believes “the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should reverse the USITC’s decision” and that it strongly disagrees with it and the 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,” the spokesperson added. “These steps include introducing a version of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States without the Blood Oxygen feature.” The company also clarified that there “is no impact to Apple Watch units previously purchased that include the Blood Oxygen feature.”

The modified watches will still have the blood monitoring app, Apple told the publication, but you will get a message that says it’s no longer available when you tap on it. That message also tells you to go the Health app on your iPhone to learn more, where you’ll then see a link to a support article on the company’s website.

Even before the ITC’s ban took effect, Apple was already reportedly scrambling to create a software update that would allow it to sell the devices involved. Clearly, the company was able to develop a solution in time for the stay to be lifted. While the ban isn’t officially taking effect until the afternoon of January 18, you’ll already see a note that says “Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 no longer include the blood oxygen feature” when you visit the company’s website and access either model’s product page. Engadget reached out to Apple, and while it confirmed the resumed US availability of both watch models, it refused to comment on the matter.

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