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September 13, 2016

Swatch wins iWatch trademark case against Apple

May have been a key factor in the move to the Apple Watch name.

By Ellie Burns

Apple’s attempt to register ‘iWatch’ as a trademark in the UK has been successfully blocked by Swatch.

The Swiss watchmaker claimed that ‘iWatch’ was too similar to its own trademarks ‘iSwatch’ and ‘Swatch’.

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) agreed with Swatch, upholding its opposition which it filed in March 2014. Following the opposition of the trademark by Swatch, Apple then made the move to call its product ‘Apple Watch’ when it launched in 2015.

However, Apple does have the option of using the ‘iWatch’ trademark, but only now with computer software and computer accessories. It will be blocked from using the trademark with hardware, monitors, audio, video devices or cameras.

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

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

Ms Daboul told the BBC that the opposition by Swatch in the iWatch trademark case may have been a ‘key factor’ in Apple’s decision to use the alternative Apple Watch brand.

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