San Diego – Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch is considering taking steps to stop Apple from registering the name “iWatch” for trademark protection, saying the name is too similar to Swatch’s already trademarked “iSwatch.” In recent years, despite Apple’s reluctance to even confirm the existence of an “iWatch” product, the technology giant has busily conducted a global trademark registration campaign, filing for protection of the name “iWatch” in numerous countries, including Taiwan, Mexico, Japan, and Russia.
This is not the first time that Swatch has openly opposed the registration of the name “iWatch” and it has no plans of relenting against a major competitor, such as Apple. As a trademark owner, Swatch is actively taking part in its duty to enforce its trademark rights. A Swatch representative stated, “We consider the likelihood of confusion as given, the trademarks are confusingly similar.” However, Iceland has been the only country so far to deny Apple’s “iWatch” trademark application based on its confusing similarity to Swatch’s existing trademark also used for watches.
When determining whether to deny or accept Apple’s “iWatch” trademark applications, foreign trademark offices will weigh several factors, such as the similarity of trademarks and the products, the channels of trade, the degree of care that consumers will have in deciding to purchase the products, and other similar factors. The process of filing foreign trademarks can be time consuming as many offices can take 18 months to several years to respond to an Application. If granted, Swatch would then have an opportunity to oppose the application or any resulting registration.
Apple’s recent trademark filings in other countries have expanded to include jewelry, precious stones, and chronometric instruments, and use the name “iWatch” has fueled rumors of the company’s intended launch of wearable tech products. The Silicon Valley based company remains silent on the matter. Whether the rumored Apple “iWatch” is deemed too similar to Swatch’s existing “iSwatch” remains to be seen.
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