Swiss watchmaker Swatch is unhappy with Apple launching one of its wearables named iWatch. This clearly sounds like iSwatch, a trade name used by the company for its new line of watches.
According to Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch Group, the iWatch label is too similar to its own iSwatch product. Swatch's measures include pointing out the use of "iWatch" to authorities in all the countries where it has been registered as a trademark. But there are no plans to take Apple to court.
"This is the normal procedure to protect your own brand name," Hayek said. "We react like this for all other brand names that we have protected."
"If somebody wants to register a name that is too close to a name that we have protected, we fight against it."
But Apple has still not officially announced of its wearable watch or revealed its name. The details about the iWatch is still not clear.
Rumors indicate Apple's possible smartwatch describes a wristband computer that goes far beyond being a watch and shows time, which is something that would distinguish it from anything Swatch currently offers.
The iWatch trademark would be very different from iSwatch in name and Apple's invention definitely differentiates it from the other brands. Also, Apple has a practice of using the "i" prefix with almost all of its products: iPhone, iPod, iPad, iMac, iLife, iTools, iDisk, iCards and more. This is an Apple branding trend, which became a registered trademark since 2009.
Swatch has registered the iSwatch name in several dozen countries and wants to protect it, according to Hayek. Previously, Apple applied for trademark protection for an "iWatch" in Japan with the Japan Patent Office.
More than 50 companies have filed for trademark protection for the iWatch name, according to a search on the World Intellectual Property Organization Web site.
iWatch was granted protection on April 1 in Monaco, while authorities in Iceland issued a preliminary rejection, citing its similarity to iSwatch.
Hayek added the two haven't discussed the iWatch/iSwatch issue. But it may not matter to Intellectual Property Offices worldwide as Apple could easily make a case for it.