Technology

Swatch succeeds in trademark case over Apple 'iWatch'

Swatch watch face Image copyright AFP
Image caption Swatch argued "iWatch" was too similar to its "iSwatch" trademark

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".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Apple decided to call its product "Apple Watch" when it launched in 2015

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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