The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has formally opposed the temporary pause on the Apple Watch sales ban, effectively calling for its reinstatement in a new document to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
ITC lawyers say "Apple presents a weak and unconvincing case to invoke the extraordinary remedy of a stay pending appeal," suggesting that the arguments made by the company "amount to little more than an indisputably adjudicated infringer requesting permission to continue infringing the asserted patents."
For those who are catching up, this all stems from patent infringement claims by health tech company Masimo, who allege that Apple stole trade secrets and poached employees to develop its blood oxygen technology.
The ITC ruled in October that Apple Watch models with the blood oxygen sensing feature did infringe on Masimo's patents, with the ban coming into force in December.
However, Apple resumed sales of its latest smartwatches on 2 January in the US, with its appeal of the ban on import and sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 proving successful.
Following the ITC's formal opposition to the ban's temporary stay, the next steps in this legal saga would appear to be coming up shortly.
The court is accepting responses from other parties in support of the ITC's ruling until 15 January, so this should mean the Apple Watch models in question would remain on sale until at least then.
Apple is also reportedly working on software changes to help address the alleged infringements, with the US Customs and Border Protection expected to rule on the tweaks over the coming days.
It's anything but clear what the result of these next phases will be, however - or, indeed, the long-term outlook of the dispute. Stay tuned for all the latest developments over the coming weeks.
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