Swatch succeeds in trademark case over Apple ‘iWatch’

Posted Friday, Sep 16, 2016 by Jeff Safire

While I agree that “iWatch” is quite similar to “iSwatch”, I don’t feel the same similarity for “Swatch”. Really? They think people will confuse “iWatch” with “Swatch”? Also, Swatch has already announced plans for a smart watch. Doesn’t that provide a possible non-compete motive for Swatch to want to disallow the iWatch trademark? Of course, there are a plethora of differences in British Law but, it seems neglectful – at least in this article – that this point is not discussed.

Although I am an Apple fanguy, I do not necessarily think the iWatch trademark should be granted. But, I wonder if Swatch had not already trademarked “iSwatch”, if they would still have opposed “iWatch”. Also, I am not a marketing expert by any means but, if Swatch thinks customers may be confused with “iWatch” and “iSwatch”, why did they choose to use the ‘i’ in the first place? Doesn’t the general Public (World?) already immediately associate ‘i-anything’ with Apple?    – jeff
 
 
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Technology

Swatch succeeds in trademark case over Apple ‘iWatch’

13 September 2016

Swiss watchmaker Swatch has successfully opposed Apple’s registration of the trademark “iWatch” in the UK.

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) upheld Swatch’s opposition, which was filed in March 2014. Swatch said the name “iWatch” was too similar to its own trademarks for the words “iSwatch” and “Swatch”. And by the time in launched its smartwatch, in 2015, Apple had decided to call its product “Apple Watch”.

But should the California-based company wish to use the name “iWatch” in the UK at some point in future, it can now do so only with certain products. These include computer software and computer accessories – but not computer hardware, monitors, audio and video devices or cameras.
The IPO’s decision follows a hearing in April.

‘Trademarks are territorial’

“This decision shows the difficulty global brands can have when it comes to launching a new product around the world,” said Sharon Daboul, a trademark lawyer at law firm EIP.

“Trademarks are territorial, which means that a trademark must be available for registration in every country of interest.”

Not being able to secure the iWatch trademark around the world would have been a “key factor”, Ms Daboul added, in Apple’s decision not to use the name for its smartwatch.
Swatch declined to comment on the decision.

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