Masimo CEO’s Relationship with Biden May Have Worried Apple

What you should know

  • The International Trade Commission (ITC) had issued an Exclusion Order forcing Apple to pull Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 units from both physical and online Apple Stores in the U.S. due to patent infringement claims by Masimo.
  • Apple was granted a reprieve by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, ordering the ITC Exclusion Order to be halted until January 10th, pending the ITC’s response to Apple’s demand for a longer-term pause on the order.
  • Masimo founder and CEO Joe Kiani, who is a close friend of President Biden and a significant donor to the Democratic party, has been accused of influencing the decision. However, a Masimo spokesman denied these claims and accused Apple CEO Tim Cook of lobbying on behalf of Apple.
  • Apple has resumed selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the U.S. online Apple Store and select physical stores, with the affected watches slated to return to all stateside locations by Saturday.


Full Story

Well, you might have been waiting for some Christmas news about President Joe Biden and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. You know, something about them blocking that pesky International Trade Commission’s (ITC) Exclusion Order. Yeah, the one that forced Apple to yank all Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 units from both physical and online Apple Stores in the U.S.

If you’ve been snoozing like Rip Van Winkle for the last two weeks, here’s the gist. The ITC, after ruling that the pulse oximeters on these watches infringed on Masimo’s patents, slapped an Import Ban on these specific models.

But, plot twist! Yesterday, Apple was given a breather by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. They ordered the ITC Exclusion Order to be paused until January 10th. On that day, the ITC has to respond to Apple’s demand for a longer-term pause on the order.

Here’s where it gets interesting. On January 12th, Apple will hear from the U.S. Customs Department. They’ll find out if the software changes they propose making to the affected Apple Watch models are enough to lift the Import Ban.

Now, let’s talk about Masimo founder and CEO Joe Kiani. According to The New York Post, Kiani is a big-time donor to the Democratic party and the Biden Foundation. In fact, Biden once called him “one of my closest friends” during a speech. Kiani has reportedly donated nearly $8 million to various causes, including a cool $1,080,000 to the Biden Victory Fund.

In 2021, Biden appointed Kiani to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. This group is tasked with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House.

But, hold on. We’re not saying that the president didn’t save Apple from the ITC’s Exclusion Order because of his friendship with Kiani. It’s just that maybe the White House should have issued a statement and had the president recuse himself from deciding whether to veto the Import Ban. Otherwise, it looks a bit dodgy in the media.

A Masimo spokesman insists that Kiani never lobbied the president or Tai. Instead, he accused Apple CEO Tim Cook of lobbying on behalf of Apple. According to the spokesman, “This dispute has never been about money for Masimo. The company‚Äôs motivation has always been and remains to hold Apple accountable for infringing Masimo’s patents and to restore integrity to the marketplace.”

In the meantime, Apple has resumed selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the U.S. online Apple Store. Some physical U.S. Apple Stores have these models in stock now, with the affected watches expected to return to all stateside locations by Saturday.

If you live in the U.S. and have been thinking about buying a Series 9 Apple Watch or an Apple Watch Ultra 2, you have until January 9th to make that purchase. But, if Apple can keep the ban at bay until it exhausts all of its legal options, it could be weeks or months before Apple might have to pull the devices out of its online and physical U.S. Apple Stores again.

What happens after January is in the hands of the courts, U.S. Customs, and the inventory of these Apple Watch models remaining at third-party stores like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynnhttps://www.phonesinsights.com
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.

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