Apple CEO Tim Cook has indicated that the company does not plan to license Masimo's blood oxygen detection technology to resolve the ongoing Apple Watch import ban. This stance emerged amidst a patent lawsuit with Masimo, which notably led to an import ban on Apple Watches equipped with a blood oxygen sensor. In response, Apple chose to deactivate this feature through a software update, allowing it to continue selling the watches without addressing the patent dispute directly.
In a live statement to CNBC, Cook emphasized Apple's strategy to focus on the legal appeals process rather than seeking a licensing agreement with Masimo. This clarification comes after speculation about Apple's approach to the dispute. Cook highlighted, "We're focused on appeal. There's lots of reasons to buy the watch even without the blood oxygen sensor," suggesting confidence in the Apple Watch's value beyond the disputed feature.
Despite the import ban, which began on January 18, 2024, Apple continues to sell the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States, albeit with the blood oxygen sensor functionality disabled. Watches sold before the enforcement of the ban retain their blood oxygen detection capability, and it's speculated that Apple could re-enable this feature via a software update should the ban be lifted.
Masimo's CEO has expressed a willingness to reach a settlement with Apple, but as of now, no discussions have taken place. Apple's firm stance on not pursuing licensing or negotiations reveals the company's confidence in its legal position and its broader strategy for handling patent disputes.