Swatch Takes on Apple Over ‘iWatch’ Trademark
Swiss watchmaker giant Swatch is taking steps to block Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) trademarks for the name “iWatch,” because of the name’s similarity to Swatch’s own “ISwatch” trademark, reports Watson via 9to5Mac. “We assess the likelihood of confusion as given, the marks are confusingly similar,” Swatch’s head of corporate communications, Serena Chiesura, told Watson [via Google Translate]. “In all countries where the mark is registered, we go against it before.”
Apple registered the iWatch name for trademark protection in Switzerland on December 4, 2013, reports Watson. However, this does not necessarily mean that Apple has secured the rights to the name. According to Stephan Beutler — a Swiss trademark lawyer cited by Watson — trademark protection is granted on a provisional basis and countries have eighteen months to respond to a trademark request. Appeals on trademark decisions can further extend the process. According to Watson, at least one country – Iceland – has already refused Apple’s iWatch trademark on the basis that it is “confusingly similar” to Swatch’s trademark.
Although Apple has yet to even confirm the existence of a product called iWatch, the company has already filed for trademark protections on the name in multiple markets around the world. Last summer, Macworld reported that Apple had filed for the iWatch trademark in Mexico, Taiwan, and Japan for a category of computer products. Around the same time, Apple also applied for the iWatch trademark in Russia, according to the Russian-language site izvestia.ru.
More recently, MacRumors reported that Brightflash – a shell company that is likely run by Apple – has pursued the iWatch trademark in Australia, Macau, Denmark, and the U.K. According to French Apple news site Consomac, Brightflash has also filed for the iWatch trademark in dozens of other countries around the world.