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Apple’s patent infringment settlement will be expensive, but easier

Masimo pulled off a ban on Apple Watch sales in the U.S. Even though the healthcare tech company is at odds with Apple, its CEO, Joe Kiani, is willing to discuss a settlement with the leading smartwatch maker. A report suggests that settling with Masimo would be in Apple’s best interest, as going a different route would require them to take on a significant responsibility of making both software and hardware changes to their wearable lineup to accommodate a blood oxygen meter.

According to the latest TrendForce report, Apple has two options to get its watch family back on the market. One involves tweaking the software and hardware, reapplying for approval, and then possibly restarting sales.

“Given the current situation, there are several possible developments. Firstly, Apple may reapply for approval of a redesigned model by regulatory authorities, allowing them to resume sales after making necessary adjustments.”

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it seems in theory. Modifying the internals of an Apple Watch can erase months of work, not to mention the time it takes for the changes to be reviewed. Considering Apple launches a new model every 12 months, this choice doesn’t seem practical from any perspective. That leaves Apple with only one option: reaching a settlement with Masimo.

Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to settlements. They’ve faced losses in battles with companies like Qualcomm, leading them to cough up around $4.5 billion. In contrast, Masimo has a winning record, having triumphed in two patent infringement cases. In one of those instances, they scored a licensing deal that brought in a cool $1 billion for the healthcare company.

Moreover, if Apple decides to settle with Masimo, it essentially acknowledges using stolen technology. This admission could potentially damage Apple’s reputation on a global scale.

Apple has a small window to act, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has temporarily lifted the ban until January 10. However, that deadline is tomorrow, and we’re still in the dark about any modifications coming to the current Apple Watch models. If a software update doesn’t resolve the situation, settling might be the only option left, and it’s likely to come with a hefty price tag.