Apple faces competition for iWatch trademark in Europe

Several E.U. companies have staked claims on the iWatch brand ahead of Apple

By Loek Essers, IDG News Service |  

Probendi is not the only company in Europe staking a claim on the iWatch name, though. AIO Distribution, a company from the U.K., also filed for a European registration of the trademark in Dec. 2012. In this case, AIO tried to register "iwatch", with a lower case w, in class 9 and also class 38, which covers mobile phones and communications by mobile phones.

AIO's trademark claim hasn't been registered yet though, and its application was opposed by the Vlaamse Media Maatschappij (Flemish Media Company, VMM), according to OHIM's records.

VMM has an online portal, iwatch.be, where content from the Flemish television channel VTM can be watched for a fee. The company has registered the "iWatch" trademark in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, according to the records of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP), which covers the three countries.

A VMM spokeswoman reached on Friday declined to comment on Apple's trademark filings in other countries and wouldn't discuss the opposition of AIO's filing at the OHIM. The company doesn't discuss its strategies, she said.

AIO Distribution could not be reached for comment.

There is another iWatch trademark holder on record at the BOIP too. A private person from the Netherlands, Otto F. Weise, registered "iWatch", "iWatch Phone" and "iWatch Connect" in different categories according to BOIP records.

The trademark iWatch is registered in a category covering jewelry while iWatch Phone and iWatch Connect are registered in a category that among others covers cash registers, calculating machines and data processing equipment.

The situation is much the same in the U.K., where Probendi owns the trademark (because it has an E.U. trademark), records at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) show. In the U.K., an application for "i_watch" from Turkey in the jewelry category is also pending.

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