Home Gadgets Apple Watch ban will boost Joe Biden mega-donor Joe Kiani

Apple Watch ban will boost Joe Biden mega-donor Joe Kiani


A Democratic mega-donor who Joe Biden called “one of my closest friends” stands to win from a ban on the latest version of Apple Watches — which has already been upheld by the president.

The Biden-backed ban was put on temporary hold by a federal appeals court Wednesday as Apple battles to overturn it — and end a long-running claim by medical technology company Masimo that the Silicon Valley giant has stolen its intellectual property.

Joe Kiani, the multi-millionaire founder and CEO of Masimo, has donated millions to Democrats and is a particularly close supporter of Biden, with donations including $1 million to his Biden Foundation.

But his legal war with Apple led to the US International Trade Commission ruling its Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models breached Masimo’s patent for blood-oxygen level reading technology, and that importing them should be banned.

The White House had until Christmas Day to overturn the ban by getting US Trade Representative Katherine Tai to block it, but decided not to and it went into place.

This was how Joe Biden greeted Joe Kiani in 2015, when he was vice president. Kiani became one of the president’s biggest donors in the 2020 election and was rewarded with a role on a powerful White House advisory group. MediaNews Group via Getty Images
Hunter Biden and his wife Melissa Cohen have been guests of Joe and Sarah Kianis at their sprawling $50m ranch and vineyard three hours north of Los Angeles. SplashNews.com
In April, the beleaguered first son sought refuge with his wife and young son at the Kianis’ 8,000-acre ranch in California. SplashNews.com

Then it was put on hold Wednesday by a federal appeals court when Apple formally applied to appeal the ruling, and asked successfully for an emergency order putting the ban on hold.

The amount of money at stake for Apple or for Masimo is unknown.

But Kiani has cultivated exceptionally close ties to Biden, who in 2019 spoke at an event where Kiani was in the audience and called him out as “one of my closest friends,” the Associated Press reported.

Kiani, 59, is an Iranian-American businessman who is among Biden’s biggest donors.

Kiani and his stay-at-home wife Sarah are major donors to Democrats and their causes.
Joe and Sarah Kiani were among the guests at the Biden White House’s state dinner in December 2022 for France’s Emmanuel Macron. C-SPAN

In addition to a $1 million donation to the Biden Foundation, Kiani donated $750,000 to the pro-Biden Unite the Country PAC in 2020, part of nearly $3 million he bundled to the president’s campaign, super PAC and inaugural committee. He is also a significant Democratic Party donor.

A spokesman for Masimo said the CEO and his “team” had never lobbied Biden or Tai over the Apple Watch dispute and accused Apple’s CEO Tim Cook of having his own lobbying effort.

“This dispute has never been about money for Masimo,” the spokesman said. “The company’s motivation has always been and remains to hold Apple accountable for infringing Masimo’s patents and to restore integrity to the marketplace.”

The White House declined to comment. Tai’s office did not return a request for comment. The Post has reached out to Apple for comment.

The Biden administration allowed a federal ban to proceed on the latest version of the Apple Watch after Joe Kiani’s tech company launched copyright infringement challenges against the tech giant. REUTERS
The Apple Watch dispute puts Kiani at loggerheads with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who was in the White House in June with Pres. Biden for talks on tech and investment with India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Kiani and his wife Sarah were guests at a state dinner for France’s President Emmanuel Macron in December 2022, and then at a White House reception for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, in March 2023.

“Thank you @POTUS and @FLOTUS for celebrating #Nowruz at the White House,” Kiani posted on X. “You really have been the President for all Americans.”

A month later, in April, Kiani and his wife Sarah hosted first son Hunter Biden and his wife Melissa Cohen at their sprawling 8,000-acre Kiani Preserve, three hours north of Los Angeles.

The $50 million Santa Ynez property includes a main house and guest house, both of which are equipped with a pool, tennis courts and a vineyard.

Catherine Kiani was given a job working for Jill Biden after she graduated from tony liberal arts school, Claremont McKenna College. In 2002 her father posted this photo showing her voting for the first time on his Instagram. joe.kiani/Instagram
Kiani’s daughter gushed about her experience at the White House in her tony college’s alumni magazine. CMC Magazine

Kiani has cultivated ties to the Biden family in other ways. He offered an $85,000-a-year job to troubled Biden niece Caroline Biden in July 2018, according to emails and text messages found on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

The job would have allowed her to move to Los Angeles — where she wanted to be close to her cousin Hunter, to serve two years of probation for a stolen credit card — but she scoffed that the offer was effectively “below minimum wage.”

The Bidens have in turn helped out the Kianis.

Kiani was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2021. The panel is the sole body “charged with making science, technology and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House,” giving Kiani a powerful platform.

Kiani posed in front of this portrait of Biden as a senator, and uses his social media to regularly praise the president for his policies. joe.kiani/Instagram

And Kiani’s daughter Catherine got her first job out of college working in Jill Biden’s office in the East Wing of the White House.

Catherine, now a student at the Penn Carey Law School at the University of Pennsylvania, gushed about meeting alumni from her tony liberal arts school, Claremont McKenna College, in Claremont, Calif., at the White House state dinner for Macron, where her parents were guests.

And the first lady spoke at a panel Kiani organized at the high-profile tech conference and film festival, SXSW, in Austin, Texas, in 2021, to push the ” civic engagement platform” he started in 2020.

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