National Jeweler Network

Brand Profiles

Swatch keeping an eye on iWatch trademarks

By Michelle Graff

May 06, 2014

Biel/Bienne, Switzerland--It seems that any story that even mentions the much-anticipated, but not-yet-even-confirmed, iWatch is fit to print these days. 

Over the weekend, reports began flying about Swatch Group’s objections to Apple’s trademark registration of the term “iWatch” in some countries. 

The iSwatch vs. iWatch media whirlwind began with a report on the Swiss news, German-language website Watson.ch. 

On Sunday, Bloomberg conducted a telephone interview with Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek in which he stated that Swatch has been “pointing out” the use of “iWatch” to authorities in all the countries where it had been registered as a trademark.

“This is the normal procedure to protect your own brand name,” he told Bloomberg. “We react like this for all other brand names that we have protected.” 

Hayek did not provide specifics on which countries had been contacted or when the “pointing out” started, but added that there are no plans to take the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant to court.   

In a statement sent to National Jeweler Monday, a Swatch Group spokesperson confirmed that the report was accurate, noting that it is “normal practice” for a company to monitor its trademark registrations and oppose registration of similar-sounding products when necessary. 

While the products indeed are similar sounding--according to Bloomberg, authorities in Iceland already have issued a preliminary rejection of “iWatch” as a trademark because it is too similar to iSwatch--it does not appear that they will be similar in function.  

The iSwatch is a silicone and plastic Swatch watch with a digital display that was part of the Swatch 2013 “Summer Buzz” collection. 

Aside from the lower case orange “i” on its black strap, the timepiece seemingly has little or nothing to do with the so-called iWatch, the smartwatch that Apple is reportedly developing. The iSwatch retails for $100 and simply keeps time; it has no smartwatch functions. 

The current availability of the iSwatch is unclear. The Swatch Group spokesperson did not answer when asked if the iSwatch was sold in the United States and it is listed as “out of stock” online.