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Apple Watch has trademark issues that could delay its launch in Switzerland

Posted: , posted by Alan F.

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Apple Watch has trademark issues that could delay its launch in Switzerland
Apple might have to delay the launch of the Apple Watch in Switzerland. According to a report from a Swiss broadcaster, a company called Leonard Timepieces has a trademark in the country that gives it the exclusive rights to use the word "apple" on jewelry including watches. The trademark also covers the use of the image of an apple on jewelry and watches in Switzerland. The good news for Apple is that this trademark expires on December 5th after being in effect for 30 years. But that is more than 7 months after the April 24th global launch of the Apple Watch.

The trademark owned by Leonard Timepieces covers "precious metals and their alloys and goods in these materials or coated therewith, not included in other classes, or jewelery, jewelery, stones precious stones, watches and timepieces. " Not only can't the tech titan use the name Apple Watch in Switzerland, it also can't show the Apple logo on the watch.

Apple had a pair of similar situations when it launched the iPhone and iPad. In the U.S., Cisco owned the iPhone trademark for its VoIP phones when Apple introduced its touchscreen handset in January 2007. A month later, both sides reached a settlement. Apple finally was awarded the trademark for the iPhone name in February 2010.

In July 2012, Apple paid Chinese company Proview $60 million for the iPad name in China. Before launching the tablet in 2010, Apple signed a deal with Proview's Taiwan subsidiary which only gave it the rights to use the iPad name in Taiwan, not in mainland China. This became a legal battle with Proview originally asking Apple to pay it $1.5 billion for the rights to the iPad name in the country.

Apple has plenty of cash that it could dangle in front of Leonard Timepieces to buy the trademark. After all, the trademark will expire in December and Leonard Timepieces might want to grab some cash for it now rather than have it expire worthless. We don't believe that Apple would want to wait until December to launch the Apple Watch in Switzerland, nor is the company likely to change the name of the watch in that country. Buying the trademark would be the easiest way for Apple to remove this obstacle that stands in its way in Switzerland.

source: RTS (translated) via Reuters

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