Swiss-based watch maker Swatch is not thrilled about an impending Apple wearable device or the rumored name “iWatch.”:

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The company is seeking to block Apple trademarks for the name “iWatch” because of its own line of watches called “ISwatch.” A representative for Swatch told Watson:

We assess the likelihood of confusion as given, the marks are confusingly similar. In all countries where the mark is registered, we go against it before.

While Swatch says it will fight the trademarks, the watch maker will not give specifics as to how it plans to do so. According to U.S. government filings, Swatch has moved in the past to block companies from registering the iWatch trademark:

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Apple has trademarked the word iWatch in several countries, including Japan, Mexico, and Turkey. The iWatch is expecting to arrive as soon as later this year and include health and fitness functionality.

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73 Responses to “Swiss-based watchmaker Swatch anticipating Apple’s market entry by fighting for ‘iWatch’ trademark”

  1. good. imo Apple can do better than “iWatch”.

    • irelandjnr says:

      Couldn’t disagree more. The simplicity of the name is everything, just as iPhone is the best name ever for a phone.

      • iPhone is the “best name ever” for a phone, because it’s still a phone, despite all the other things it can do. It’s primary usage is as a phone, and all (or most) of it’s secondary uses are as a communications device.

        iWatch is a bad name for the purported product in question, because by all accounts, it won’t actually be a watch. It’s primary purpose is as sensors for health related apps, and it’s secondary purpose is as an adjunct to the phone (communications & intelligent agent).

        Somewhere way, way, way down the list of things the new device can purportedly do … is the fact that it’s also a watch.

        An “iWatch” would only be a watch in the sense that everything that has a time function in it is a watch. From about 1974 onwards, there have been “watches” put into everything from pens, to cereal boxes. That doesn’t make them “watches.” In fact “watches” as a category have all but died out.

        As has been pointed out many times, most people wear a watch nowadays as jewellery, not to tell time. The obvious indicator of this trend is the fact that most watches sold today are almost impossible to read. They are on your wrist as a way to show off and to be admired, not to tell you the time.

      • irelandjnr says:

        You’re over thinking it Mr. Grey.

      • Great insight Mr. Grey, I think you are correct in your analysis and distinctions between the 2 terms.

      • Mr. Grey, I pretty much agree. I have said for a while now that I don’t think Apple will be releasing a watch, they will be releasing a biosensing device that might also tell time.

        Just because it is worn on the wrist and tells time doesn’t make it a watch. The Fitbit Force could display the time and was worn on the wrist, but I haven’t heard anyone call it a watch. Primarily because as you said its primary purpose is as an activity monitor.

      • iWatch is by far the best name. Although it’ll be capable of doing a lot of things, it still has to be familiar and friendly. That’s why Apple will be the first to truly penetrate the consumer market with wearables. It may have a ton of functionality but at the end of the day it will still feel like a watch. People will buy it as a watch with a ton of cool features instead of a tiny computer that happens to have a watch app. That’s the genius of Apple. They’re able to make new technology approachable by making it familiar and comfortable while at the same time new and exciting. Just my opinion.

    • I agree, a better name than iWatch should be a goal for Apple for this device.

  2. wliston2 says:

    And iSwatch didn’t get their idea from Apple by putting an “i” in front of whatever they make? Hope Apple bury’s you Swatch

    • irelandjnr says:

      Agreed. Swatch wanting to block Apple naming their watch iWatch is anticompetitive. I think given Apple’s 15-year using usage of the i-prefix in many forms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBook) they should be allowed to use the name iWatch. If there is an i before a product the public thinks Apple. It’s only fair.

      • rzozaya1969 says:

        Okay.. idiot starts with an i… when I think Idiot, should I think of Apple? I don’t think so…

        I think, but I’m not sure that Compac started with the iPac, but I’m not sure.

        In part, I think it’s fairer to start to stop something before than trying to sue latter….

      • And how about when Apple sued the Polish Deli because their website was a.pl??? Apple thinks they own everything, but they don’t. The iWatch would be a blatant rip off of the ISWATCH, and everyone knows it.

  3. David Schwab says:

    These companies crack me up, because if they are putting an “i” before a name, they are copying Apple in the first place. Apple did it first with the iMac (internet Mac), and then followed suit with the iPod, iPhone, iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, iWork, iCoud, iBook, etc. That’s Apple thing. So Swatch using ISwatch is copying Apple already.

    • jtmacleod says:

      Are we rewriting history here?

      There was an “iPhone” in 1998 by Infogear. Cisco has been using IOS since the mid-90s, as well.

      Sure, lots of people follow this trend because Apple does it, but they are neither the creators nor the only ones to do this. Prepending an “i” for “internet” has been a thing for a long while, man.

      • Amen to that.

        Now David, stop being an iSheep.

      • irelandjnr says:

        You guys have no idea how trademarks work. Were the general public confused that Apple’s iPhone or its operating system were either of those products, no because no one ever heard of those products before. Knowing how trademark law works is not being a sheep, or a-sleep; it’s being awake. Try it sometime.

      • @jtmacleod: You are incorrect. Your examples are correct, but irrelevant (esp. “IOS”).

        Here and there, people and companies have indeed prepended the “i for Internet” on their products, but mostly sporadically, mostly on marginal (or failed) products, or as placeholders for services that never came to fruition. Almost all of these actually FOLLOWED the introduction of the practice by Apple.

        Apple started this when Steve Jobs came back to the company in 1998 with the first release of the first “iMacs.” They have followed it up year after year, with product after product, and have (a few times) been copied by others. It’s been their central branding for over 16 years and they have shipped many hundreds of millions of products (worth many billions of dollars) using it.

        Trademark law would therefore suggest that Apple actually “owns” the “i for Internet” at least on computer products for this reason alone. Barring a clear example of a currently selling computer related product bearing EXACTLY the same name, ‘iWatch” is theirs if they want it.

      • David Schwab says:

        OK, true, but you are slightly rewriting history:

        “On September 3, 1993, Infogear filed for the US trademark “I PHONE” and on March 20, 1996, applied for the trademark “IPhone”.[287] “I Phone” was registered in March 1998, and “IPhone” was registered in 1999. Since then, the I PHONE mark had been abandoned.”

        So they never had ‘iPhone,” with the lower case “i” as a trademark, although they did release an iPhone in 1998. And then Cisco bought them and the name. And of course they ended up licensing the name to Apple. And there were other companies using an IPHONE name of some type or another.

        But the iPhone didn’t come first. It was named after other Apple products. Apple came out with the iMac in 1998, it was the first time most people saw an iName like that. Then you started seeing imitators, like the Compaq iPaq. Oh yeah, but they were’t copying the iMac. Brian Moore guitars has the iGuitar. There are other examples. Do you think they copied Inforgear? Did anyone even hear of the Infogear iPhone before Apple came out with theirs?

        Same with iOS. It was the iPhone OS for a while. Remember the naming issues with Mac OS 9 vs. OS-9? Same with the Cisco IOS. Unless you were really into router/switches would you have even heard of it?

        So the point is, it’s about context. And in this context Swatch is copying Apple.

      • I think the first time apple used the “i” monicker was when Steve Jobs came back and was the interim CEO, or iCEO, as he styled it.

        The “I” in the Infogear IPhone stood for Infogear, not Internet.

        The “I” in Cisco’s IOS technically stood for “internetwork” rather than “internet”

      • IPHONE as I remember reading about the trademark issues after Apples launch of the iPhone in 2007, was that it was a VoIP phone (Voice over IP), shortened to IPhone.

  4. fredhstein says:

    I’ve always thought “iWatch” was lame. More importantly, misses the point. The wrist device is a notifier, not a watch. Who knows, call it “iPod something” or ??

  5. that’s a bit bold, to say the least, for a lame watchmaker that copies Apple’s branding (iSomething) in the first place.

    I hope Apple sues them to oblivion (or makes Samesung buy them out… maybe then they’ll produce a decent watch, by their standards at least :) )

    • A “lame watchmaker?” Swatch is the world’s biggest watch maker and the Swatch Group, including subsidiaries make Omega, Longine, Tag Heuer and many other well known marques. Swatch Group is responsible for saving the Swiss watch industry in the early 80′s.

      What Apple would likely do is pay Swatch if it intends to use the iWatch mark. Buying the company would also be interesting, but IMO, it’s just too much money and the product lines too diverse. But at least with some collaboration they’d be free of all the wrist allergies that every other johny-come-lately has been plagued with. Al these guys are reinventing the wheel and screwing it up as they go, instead of consulting or even partnering with someone who already has decades of experience in wearables.

      • It’s not something that requires experience, but rather, intelligence. A watch is infinitely simple.

      • Maybe they’ve bought lots of serious brands over the years, but Swatch watches themselves are and have never been, imo, nothing to crave for. Maybe they’re popular among teens and people in their early 20s, but I don’t think anywhere above that.

        Swatch was acting lamely or even mocking Apple’s success with the iSwatch, because in people’s minds, in public perception, iSomething means Apple. Others have produced iDevices before Apple, but it’s with Apple that the names stuck. For example, who else knew about Cisco’s IOS (the OS in their routers and some switches) except Cisco nerds?

        Then again, from some quick research I discovered that the iSwatch was introduced in mid-2013, when iWatch rumours were already going full swing. So, was Swatch trying to do a Samsung here? Or are they after free publicity? Very likely the latter.

        I project that if you put an(y) iSwatch and the iWatch side by side, it’s very likely that nobody will even glimpse on the Swatch product(s). This is what I think Swatch’s people are afraid of or trying to take advantage of.

  6. iPadCary says:

    Those dopes have, quite unsurprisingly, got it ALL WRONG.
    It most certainly will NOT be called “iWatch”.
    It WILL be called: “iBand”.

  7. They can easily put a ‘This is not to be confused with ‘ disclaimer

  8. I would think that Samsung would be more pissed than Swatch. After their failure of the “Gear,” Samsung won’t be able to call their next generation of junk as “sWatch.”

    • aronvdherik says:

      Samsung might even have thought of bringing out their sWatch, since it’s a widely know ‘fact’ that Apple it going to bring out their iWatch this year. But just like Swatch is trying to prevent Apple for launching an iWatch, because the names are alike, Swatch would have a much stronger case against a ‘sWatch’, because the names are basically the same.

  9. First, Swatch has ruined Swiss luxury watch industries, now they want to block iWatch in Switzerland? Are they nuts or just greedy?

  10. georgebeach says:

    The entire Swiss watch industry has been lame since the arrival of Japanese watches. It has been kept afloat by the Swiss government. The whole “Swatch” enterprise has been playing catch up since the arrival of Japanese watches after their recovery post WW2, when the American watch industry abandoned the effort in the early 1960′s, marketing Swiss movement under American names. Timex (a holding company for the Norwegian crown money), nearly alone, was making watches in Little Rock, Arkansas, with Bulova holding on in New York. Hopeless to try to defeat Apple in this game, and I and others call into question the notion of Apple making watches in the first place. Sure, and Apple will be manufacturing televisions, too. Dream on. Good luck, Switzerland. And the Swiss may make a deal with Apple, so who can really say if the long-rumored Apple timekeeper business will ever even begin.

  11. This is good news. It means that I’ll never buy a Swatch, if they’re that pathetic and lowly. Thank you Swatch for determining my future purchase plans :)
    Fucking tools!

  12. I hope Swatch wins. “iWatch” is the worst name for a product that only has time-keeping features as a tertiary feature. It won’t look like a watch, it won’t function like a watch, so why use “iWatch”?

    I’m thinking that whatever fool it was that believed that naming OS X after “famous cool places in California!” was a good idea, is also behind “iWatch.”

  13. qj201 says:

    iWear, because that’s the point isn’t it? I wearable device.
    iComm, as it the features of the iWhatever seem to be like a Star Trek communicator.

    • zoidbert says:

      I like iComm; I sometimes refer to my iPhone as my Communicator, though it’s really more of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, isn’t it?

      That said, I still would love to have seen Apple go with PADD for the iPad (bought the rights to the name, like they did with Mighty Mouse).

  14. Nick Parry says:

    I could see it being called “iWear”

  15. Matt Sims says:

    Companies (including Swatch) only started putting i in-front of anything once the iMac came out anyway so to claim entitlement is a bit rich…

  16. Sean Wright says:

    What’s funny is that Apple hasn’t even formally announced they are producing a watch yet Swatch is already trying to block it.

  17. drtyrell969 says:

    God, I can’t wait to wear the ugliest nerdfesting watch ever made.

  18. Warren Cook says:

    How about iTime?

  19. smigit says:

    After dozen’s of articles about an up and comming ‘iWatch’, I think this is the first time that any possible confusion between that device and anything Swatch has delivered has been mentioned (by Swatch no less). No one is or will be confused about it.

    Clearly its an attempt to capitilise on the ‘i’ branding that Apple popularised 15 years ago. They’re probably hoping Apple will settle out of court rather than defend it. Hopefully this goes nowhere. I’m all for protecting legitimate trademarks, but Swatch don’t own all terms starting with the character ‘i’ and certainly Apples current portfolio of products makes their claim to it quite strong anyway.

  20. More than a name, a 60-billion dollar watch market is at stake. Swatch is a lead manufacturer and will be the first to feel the pinch. Swatch resents having to compete with Apple Inc.

  21. zoidbert says:

    To hell with anyone who says Apple is stealing from them when using iAnything — pretty much all of this came after Apple started the trend with the iMac in ’98; it’s the trademark equivalent of a patent troll.

    On the same token, I agree that Apple can do better than iWatch.

  22. protaginets says:

    This is silly to no end. Who in their worst drunken stupor would confuse Swatch with Apple?

  23. b9bot says:

    Have fun with that.

  24. Apple should be suing Swatch and everyone else with an “i” moniker. If it wasn’t for Apple and the revolutionary iMac in ’98, any and all “i” device and names would be meaningless. Apple OWNS “i” and always will.