Swatch opposes Apple’s iWatch trademark, says it’s too similar to own iSwatch moniker

Martin Hajek

The course of launching a new tech product never did run smooth, it seems.

We’ve known for some time that Apple is almost certainly working on a smartwatch, though a steady stream of rumors and leaks over the last year have suggested it’s been rather hard going, with various design difficulties hindering its development.

The latest headache for Apple may link to the name of its rumored wrist-based computer. Last year the Cupertino company started filing the iWatch label with various patent offices around the world, but now watch giant Swatch has piped up to say it’s not happy about it.

Claiming the moniker to be too similar to that of its iSwatch timepiece, the Swiss firm told Bloomberg over the weekend it’s been making contact with the relevant authorities in countries where Apple has filed the name.

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek said that while there no plans to take Apple to court over the issue, it was “normal procedure to protect your own brand name,” adding, “We act like this for all other brand names that we have protected.”

Hayek said Apple may be trying to “make inroads” on the Swatch brand name because “the two are similar.”

The firm currently offers two iSwatch devices. Both are digital, water-resistant units that sell for $100 and $140, according to Swatch’s website.

Bloomberg said the iSwatch brand name is registered in “several dozen” countries, with the famous watchmaker keen to protect it. It’s not clear precisely what steps the company plans to take, or even if it would have any chance of winning a case were it at some stage to take matters further with the US tech titan.

Apple started registering the iWatch name last summer, with filings spotted for countries such as Japan, Mexico, Turkey, and Columbia. The company will be hoping Swatch’s objections come to nothing, especially as it’s already endured disruptive fights with various firms over similar trademark issues, though admittedly those cases involved identical names as opposed to a similar one as we see with the iSwatch.

With tech companies looking for new markets to exploit now that the smartphone sector is reaching saturation point, wearable tech is expected to be the next big thing. Apple boss Tim Cook said in February his company is working on “some really great stuff” in “new categories,” with the iWatch rumored to be among its plans.

Whether it launches with that name, however, is now open to question.

[Image: Martin Hajek]

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