The Apple Watch Is Back on Sale in the US (But for How Long?)

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Apple has wasted as little time as possible getting the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 back on sale after the US Court of Appeals granted it a temporary reprieve yesterday.

While it’s still unclear how long the wearable’s stay of execution will last, Apple clearly wants to take advantage of this brief respite to continue selling and importing the two Apple Watch models that have already been off the market over the Christmas holiday weekend.

In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple said it’s thrilled to return the full Apple Watch lineup to customers in time for the new year.” The company returned the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to the sales floor in its US Apple retail stores almost immediately following the interim stay order and brought it back to the Apple online store today at noon Pacific Time.

We are thrilled to return the full Apple Watch lineup to customers in time for the new year. Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, including the blood oxygen feature, will become available for purchase again in the United States at Apple Stores starting today and from tomorrow by 12pm PT.Apple, in a statement to 9to5Mac

However, Apple’s victory may be short-lived, as the company isn’t out of the woods yet. The current court ruling is merely an interim order to return things to the pre-ban status quo while it decides on whether a long-term stay should be granted.

The International Trade Commission (ITC), who ordered the ban in the first place after it ruled that Apple infringed upon patents owned by health technology company Masimo, has already told the court that it opposes the ban and “respectfully requests a five-day extension” so it can prepare its response to try and convince the court to deny Apple’s request for a permanent stay.

That response is due by January 10, after which Apple will have another five days to file a reply to the ITC’s opposition to the motion. Once that’s all in place, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will decide whether the ban should come back into effect or continue to be stayed until Apple’s final appeal on the patent infringement has been heard.

Apple’s teams have worked tirelessly over many years to develop technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features and we are pleased the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stayed the exclusion order while it considers our request to stay the order pending our full appeal.Apple, in a statement to 9to5Mac

In other words, if things don’t go Apple’s way, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 could find themselves being pulled off the shelves again as soon as January 15. Still, two weeks of sales is two weeks of sales. It’s likely this will also give Apple’s third-party partners an opportunity to stock up; since the ITC’s cease and desist order (CDO) doesn’t prohibit anybody but Apple from selling the infringing wearables, others like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart can continue to do so as long as they have inventory.

Naturally, Apple is hoping that the court will agree that a permanent stay is warranted, in which case the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be allowed to remain on sale until the entire appeal goes through — a process that could take months or even years. By then, Apple will undoubtedly have an Apple Watch Series 10 (or “Apple Watch X”) and Apple Watch Ultra 3 on the market, and would probably prefer not to have to remove the infringing blood oxygen sensors in the process.

No matter what happens by the end of next month, the bottom line is that the Apple Watch is back on sale, and things are otherwise back to business as usual — for now, at least. This means you can not only buy an Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from Apple, but if you received one as a Christmas gift, you should be able to get it exchanged for a different color at your local Apple Store — something that wasn’t possible while the wearable was subject to the ITC’s ban order.

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