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Biden admin won’t veto ITC’s Apple Watch import ban ruling

The Biden Administration will not overrule a U.S. International Trade Commission decision that could block imports of Apple Inc’s Apple Watches for infringing AliveCor Inc patents related to heart monitoring, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Tuesday.

An AliveCor spokesperson also said it had been informed there would be no veto of the ruling. Any ITC ban is still on hold while Apple and AliveCor continue to clash over the patents.

The ITC ruled in December that imports of Apple’s smartwatches should be banned for infringing AliveCor’s patents, but it placed the ban on pause while related proceedings over the patents run their course. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found the patents invalid earlier that month, in a ruling that AliveCor has said it will appeal.

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

Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The ITC had no comment.

The White House had 60 days to decide whether to veto the ITC’s Dec. 22 ruling based on policy concerns.

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.

The ITC case is Certain Wearable Electronic Devices With ECG Functionality and Components Thereof, U.S. International Trade Commission. Reuters

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