Biden backs potential ban on Apple Watch imports

FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2014, file photo, the new Apple Watch is modeled during a media event in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden upheld a ruling Tuesday that could potentially ban the import of the Apple Watch, according to an announcement from medical device maker AliveCor.

The Mountain View, California-based company accused Apple of patent infringement over its EKG feature which enables heart monitoring.

AliveCor announced Biden’s backing of a ruling issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in December that stated imports of Apple’s smartwatches should be banned for infringing AliveCor’s patents.

The ITC placed the ban on pause, however, while proceedings over the patents run their course.

Apple spokesperson Hannah Smith told The Verge the ITC’s ruling doesn’t have any real impact as the order is on hold amid a dispute before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which recently ruled that AliveCor’s patents were invalid. 

According to The Hill, it’s the first ITC ruling against Apple to clear presidential review.

Apple said Tuesday it will appeal the ITC’s decision, which it said would have a negative effect on public health.

An AliveCor spokesperson also said it had been informed there would be no veto of the ruling.

Priya Abani, CEO of AliveCor, applauded Biden’s decision, saying in a statement, “This decision goes beyond AliveCor and sends a clear message to innovators that the U.S. will protect patents to build and scale new technologies that benefit consumers.”

Presidential vetoes of ITC import bans have historically been rare. However, the Obama administration reversed a ban on some iPhones and iPads in 2013 in a patent fight between Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, citing its effects on U.S. consumers and economic competition.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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