Apple iWatch hits snag, name already trademarked in US, UK and China

Apple may be filling trademark applications for the name iWatch around the world at present, but it seems to have hit snags in some of the most important countries to the manufacturer: the brand is already trademarked in the US, UK and China.

In the US, smart watch seller and maker OMG Electronics - also based in California, like Apple - claims that it holds the trademark on the name iWatch. The company named a device it was hoping to build after a round of fundraising on IndieGoGo last autumn, but it didn't reach its $100,000 goal, so remained unfunded. But the trademark is said to still stand.

The UK trademark for iWatch is owned by Probendi, a developer that uses the name for a smartphone application which "sends real-time audio, video and location data to the Critical Governance platform". An important issue here is that the trademark in this case is a community mark, which means it stands across the whole of the European Union.

Apple could technically make both of these companies an offer they can't refuse. After all, it previously struck deals over the iPad name in China (costing $60 million) and is believed to have reached a settlement over the use of iPhone in Brazil. It is also understood that OMG Electronics would be open to negotiation. However, the Chinese trademark case could be much more complicated.

Nine companies have registered the name iWatch in China over the years. Most of them are currently invalid, but the term "iWatching" is trademarked in the country and could prove an obstacle for Apple. It is already facing "copycat" lawsuits filed by Chinese companies over the use of the names Siri and Snow Leopard.



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