Russian Regulator Sides with Apple on iWatch Mark

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By Sergei Blagov

March 23—The Russian IP office has ruled in favor of Apple Inc. and its application to register the iWatch trademark, in a March 23 decision.

The Chamber of Patent Disputes of the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent) annulled an earlier decision to deny registration of the iWatch trademark.

On Jun. 3, 2013, Apple filed an application to register the iWatch trademark, but on Apr. 27, 2015 the agency denied the application, citing similarity between iWatch and trademarks already registered in Russia by Swatch AG.

On Aug. 25, 2015, Apple raised objections against Rospatent's decision, arguing that iWatch was one of several well-known products and trademarks such as iPhone, iPad, iPod and iMac.

Meanwhile, on Dec. 30, 2015, Swatch AG sent a letter to Rospatent, insisting that registration of iWatch trademark could entail a significant likelihood of confusion between this mark and the company's registered trademarks in Russia, including iSwatch.

Nonetheless, Rospatent's Chamber of Patent Disputes determined that despite certain similarities between Apple's and Swatch's marks, there was no likelihood of confusion.

Therefore, the Chamber accepted Apple's arguments and determined that Rospatent's decision to deny registration of the iWatch trademark was at variance with Section 6, Article 1483 of the Russian Civil Code. The Chamber annulled the earlier rejection and approved Apple's registration of the iWatch trademark in Russia.

Apple's Russian website refers to its wearable device as the Apple Watch, the same name the company uses in most other countries. Apple may have intended to name its device the iWatch, but other companies already held registrations for that mark in various countries. For example, another company holds a U.S. registration for iWatch with a priority date going back to August 2012, almost three years before Apple released its product. Similarly, an Irish company owns a European Community trademark registration for iWatch going back to 2008. Both the U.S. and EU iWatch registrations are in class 9 covering mobile phones, portable devices and other related goods.

Interestingly, Swatch has initiated cancellation proceedings against the EU iWatch registration.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sergei Blagov in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek in Washington at

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