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22 Feb, 2023
1 min time to read

Although there is now a possibility of a legal battle over the EKG feature of the Apple Watch due to an upheld ITC ruling by Biden, it is unlikely that the smartwatches will disappear anytime soon.

AliveCor, a medical device manufacturer, announced that President Biden has upheld the International Trade Commission's decision, which could potentially result in a ban on the import of the Apple Watch due to its EKG feature. The ITC previously ruled in December that Apple had infringed on AliveCor's wearable EKG technology and recommended a limited exclusion order and a cease-and-desist order for Apple Watch models with EKG features. If enforced, this would mean that Apple would not be able to import and sell Apple Watches with EKG capabilities in the US. AliveCor's CEO, Priya Abani, praised President Biden for holding Apple accountable for infringing on their industry-leading EKG technology. Apple spokesperson Hannah Smith stated that the company plans to appeal the ITC's decision to the Federal Circuit.

The issue at hand could have been resolved by a veto from President Biden, but he chose not to interfere with the International Trade Commission's ruling. Although it is unusual for presidents to intervene in ITC decisions, in 2013, former President Obama vetoed a similar import ban when the ITC found that Samsung technology was infringed upon by iPhones and iPads. It is possible that Apple hoped for a similar outcome this time, as the company reportedly increased its lobbying efforts prior to Biden's decision.

However, the ITC ruling does not immediately affect the availability of Apple Watches, including Series 4 to Apple Watch Ultra (excluding both generations of the SE). Apple's spokesperson, Smith, stated that there is currently no real impact from the ruling. This is because the Patent Trial and Appeal Board recently determined that AliveCor's EKG technology is not patentable, and AliveCor must win its appeal against that decision for any potential ban to be enforced.