14 Sep 2016

Swatch wins Apple trademark battle

Watch company Swatch has successfully opposed Apple's "iWatch" trademark on the basis of its registrations covering the logo "iSwatch" and the word "Swatch".

Charnsit Ramyarupa

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) issued its decision following a hearing in April. The opposition was successful against goods including monitors and monitoring devices, cameras, computers, computer hardware, wireless communication devices, radios, audio and video devices and global positioning system devices. The mark '"Watch" may proceed to registration for computer software, security devices and computer peripherals.


Sharon Daboul, trademark attorney at IP law firm EIP, said the decision showed 'the difficulty global brands can have when it comes to launching a new product around the world. Trademarks are territorial, which means that a trademark must be available for registration in every country of interest.' She added that when this particular trademark battle was first ignited in 2014, 'Apple had not yet launched the Apple Watch, but it had registered the trademark "iWatch" in a number of territories. Unfortunately, it could not secure the name "iWatch" on a global scale, and the name for the smart watch was abandoned.'

Global trademark

Ms Daboul added that whilst the decision to abandon the “iWatch” brand would have been for a number of reasons, not being able to secure the trademark globally would have been a key factor. 'People continue to keep an eye on Apple’s trademark applications, which hint at possible new product lines and product features.'