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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 every chance of winning thanks to a ban on the latest version of Apple Watches – which has already been confirmed by the president.

The Biden-backed ban was temporarily suspended by a federal appeals court on Wednesday as Apple fights to overturn it – and end a long-standing claim by medical technology company Masimo that the health giant Silicon Valley stole its intellectual property.

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

But its legal war with Apple led the US International Trade Commission to rule that its Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models violated Masimo’s patent for blood oxygen level reading technology and that their importation should be prohibited.

The White House had until Christmas Day to overturn the ban by asking U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to block it, but decided not to and the ban was implemented.

This is 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 were guests of Joe and Sarah Kianis at their sprawling $50 million ranch and vineyard three hours north of Los Angeles. SplashNews.com
In April, the embattled first son sought refuge with his wife and young son on the Kianis’ 8,000-acre ranch in California. SplashNews.com

The case was then put on hold Wednesday by a federal appeals court when Apple formally appealed the decision and successfully requested an emergency order suspending the ban.

The amount at stake for Apple or Masimo is unknown.

But Kiani has cultivated an exceptionally close bond with Biden, who in 2019 spoke at an event where Kiani was in the audience and called him “one of my closest friends,” the l ‘Associated Press.

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

Kiani and his housewife, Sarah, are major donors to Democrats and their causes.
Joe and Sarah Kiani were among the guests at Biden’s state dinner at the White House in December 2022 for Frenchman 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 the nearly $3 million he devoted to the presidential campaign, the super PAC and the inaugural committee. He is also a major donor to the Democratic Party.

A Masimo spokesperson said the CEO and his “team” never pressured Biden or Tai over the Apple Watch dispute and accused Apple CEO Tim Cook of his own efforts to lobbying.

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

The White House declined to comment. Tai’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The Post has contacted Apple for comment.

The Biden administration has authorized a federal ban on the latest version of the Apple Watch after Joe Kiani’s tech company launched copyright infringement lawsuits against the tech giant. REUTERS
The Apple Watch dispute puts Kiani at odds with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was at the White House in June with the president. Biden for talks on technology and investments with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Kiani and his wife Sarah were invited to a state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron in December 2022, then to a reception at the White House 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 have truly been the president of all Americans.”

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

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

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

Kiani has cultivated ties to the Biden family in other ways. He offered an $85,000-a-year job to Biden’s struggling 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 indeed “inferior minimum wage.

The Bidens in turn helped the Kianis.

Kiani was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2021. The committee is the sole body “charged with making policy recommendations on science, technology, and innovation 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 regularly uses his social networks to congratulate 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 University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Carey Law School, was delighted to have met alumni from her famous liberal arts school, Claremont McKenna College, in Claremont, Calif., during the state dinner at the White House for Macron, where his parents were guests.

And the first lady spoke on a panel hosted by Kiani at the high-profile technology conference and film festival, SXSW, in Austin, Texas, in 2021, to promote the “civic engagement platform” which he launched in 2020.

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