Swatch Wound Up over Apple’s iWatch Name, Files Formal Complaints

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Big time watch maker Swatch thinks Apple's iWatch name is too close to its own iSwatch, and has filed formal complaints in countries where the iPhone and iPad maker has registered the name. Swatch isn't planning on filing lawsuits against Apple -- at least not yet -- but did say it will protect its brand names.

Swatch wants Apple to ditch iWatch nameSwatch wants Apple to ditch iWatch name

iWatch is the name Apple is expected to use for its still unconfirmed smartwatch device. The company has registered the name in several countries, although it hasn't officially said the device is coming or what it will be called.

Simply registering the name was enough to get the attention of Swatch, according to Bloomberg. The company decided to take action, but doesn't see what it has done as an agressive move. Company CEO Nick Hayek said, "This is the normal procedure to protect your own brand name. We react like this for all other brand names that we have protected."

Presumably what Swatch wants is for Apple to use a different name for its smartwatch.

Apple hasn't announced a product yet, but is widely assumed to be well on its way to releasing something. The company has been hiring medical sensor experts, fitness tracking design experts, and fashion pros, which helps back up the notion that a Fitbit and Jawbone Up competitor is just around the corner.

Nike may have helped back up the fitness tracker idea, too, when it fired most of its Fuelband hardware team and announced it would focus on software for other companies. Nike CEO Mike Parker said his company's relationship with Apple is strong, adding, "We've been working with them for a long time, and we're excited about where that relationship will go forward."

Swatch already uses the iSwatch name for in its product line, and doesn't want to see other companies releasing products that could confuse consumers and dilute its own brand. "If somebody wants to register a name that is too close to a name that we have protected, we fight against it," Mr. Hayek said.

Apple hasn't commented, which isn't much of a surprise because doing so would most likely help confirm the company's smartwatch plans.

Comments

Lee Dronick

What came first iSwatch or iApple stuff? I am thinking that Swatch wouldn’t have used the lowercase i prefix unless Apple had not already made it popular.

And this is the first in a long time that I had heard of Swatch, I had assumed that they had flamed out.  It is true though that I am not up to speed on pop culture.

JonGl

I’m with Lee on this. It’s slightly absurd that a company that is trading on the “i"monicker of Apple to get upset about Apple actually building on their own brand, on which Swatch has been piggybacking for a while now. I have my doubts that Swatch will take this to court. I suspect they also know they might lose in court…

wab95

Lee, JonGI:

Good points.

Jeff:

As much as I like and admire the Swiss, and love their country, indeed I’ll be once again closing out my workweek there this week, I see more of a calculation here than I did with SBB vs Apple over the use of the clock icon on the iPad. In that case, Swiss feathers were rightly ruffled over the unauthorised and obvious infringement of the venerable institution’s trademark clock face design.

In the case of Swatch, not only is Lee correct in arguing that Apple have been making ‘iStuff’ since the second coming of SJ (over a decade and a half now), and anyone with a whit of sense not wishing to be roadkill in the path of the Apple juggernaut could simply avoid the ‘i’ prefix for anything remotely electronic; but the likelihood that anyone in the market for either a Swatch product or an Apple product actually confusing the two seems about as far-fetched as a climber confusing the Matterhorn and Mount Everest - yes, they’re both mountains that start with ‘M’, but…seriously. Watch aficionados will know the difference, as will Apple clients, as will the tech community writ large.

And when Apple does release the iWatch (or whatever they choose to call it), that’s where all the buzz will be, not over at the Swatch boutique in Duty Free. Therein lies the rub, in my opinion, and ergo the, um…timing of Swatch’s feigned polite cough of indignation. That mental linkage between their iSwatch and Apple’s iWatch in the mind of the purchasing public is precisely what they want, and could fetch the Swiss watch maker a tidy bump in sales if the public’s interest is piqued or they actually confuse the two because of said linkage.

Quite frankly, I think Swiss hearts in Bern would sink in disappointment if Apple styled their new wearable something not even remotely ‘iWatch’, like…‘iGear’. I know; I just couldn’t resist. But just think of how much fun that would be.

Gary Matheis

Hey Swatch !  Everybody thought you went out of business in about 1985. . . along with MEMBERS ONLY. . .  LOL . . . Nice try though . . .

CudaBoy

There is an iWatch????

Lee Dronick

  iWatch is the name Apple is expected to use for its still unconfirmed smartwatch device. The company has registered the name in several countries, although it hasn’t officially said the device is coming or what it will be called.

jeffff

Swatch is a brand name and fully protected. Watch is a generic term and can’t be protected (duh). It all turns on the “i” that Apple has used for many years. My money’s on the fruity one.

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