Watches

[Updated] Swatch files complaint against Samsung for trademark infringements

According to Reuters, Swatch Group, the famous Swiss watchmaker which owns renowned brands like Longines, Omega, Swatch, Rado, and Tissot, has filed a complaint against Samsung Electronics and Samsung Electronics America in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York over trademark infringements.

Swatch alleges that downloadable watch faces available for the Gear Sport, Gear S3 Classic and Frontier smartwatches “bear identical or virtually identical marks” to its trademarks. The Swiss company is demanding a trial and seeking more than $100 million in damages. The company says it initiated the legal proceedings in the US since the allegedly infringed trademarks were registered there.

A known problem

Samsung smartwatch users can download thousands of watch faces from the Galaxy Store. Barring a handful, most of them are designed and sold by third-party developers. It is not immediately clear if the watch faces under contention are designed and published by Samsung themselves. Incidentally, we have reported in the past that many third-party watches faces available in Samsung’s app store blatantly copy iconic watch designs and yet pass the company’s store approval process.

“This unabashed copying of the Trademarks can have only one purpose – to trade off the fame, reputation, and goodwill of the Swatch Group Companies’ products and marks built painstakingly over decades,” the Swatch Group said in its complaint

“This is a blatant, wilful and international violation of our trademarks by Samsung,” a Swatch spokesperson told Reuters. “The affected brands are worth billions. Our claim for compensation? Triple digits in millions,” the representative added further. Samsung, on the other hand, declined to comment on the complaint.

Update – The Verge has published images of the watch faces mentioned in the complaint. All these watch faces are from third-party developers. Regardless, it still remains that Samsung approved them for publishing in its store and takes a share of their sales proceeds.

 

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MagicalWingLT
MagicalWingLT

Give me a break…. And those watch faces look ugly… They can keep those horrible designs….. As for the trademark names, yes I fully understand that part of the article…..

Biransahin
Biransahin

The problem is that there’s only so much you can do with a round face that might be similar, often accidentally to some other face. Only the most blatant copies tend to be sued for. I’ve noticed some of these cases between different watch brands and generally the company that sues either doesn’t result in a win for the plaintiff or damages are very small. There are a lot of diver watch brands copying Omega, where literally only the brand name is different, and Swatch who owns it have never won a case. It’s impossible to have a copyright on… Read more »

Requa
Requa

The article is about trademark, not copyright. I agree some of the truly distinctive designs shown would also fall under copyright law, but trademark prohibits use of names and logos, like Swatch and the Omega symbol. This is not about round dials and 12 dots.

locarno
locarno

Third party developers should pay for this.
Anyway I like the fake watchfaces on GW. Of course it is hard to find this watchfaces in Galaxy Store. Much of them can be find on the internet.

Biransahin
Biransahin

That’s true. And if you get an app like Watchmaker, which doesn’t allow the posting of watches where the manufacturer forbids it, many people design their own using the available design tools and share them with friends. It’s not that difficult to design or copy a watchface. I’ve made a perfect Omega amongst others myself, purely for my own use. I don’t share them, but some do.

Requa
Requa

Based on the posted images, I’m with Swatch on this one. The faces depicted are direct copies of their designs. Samsung has a process for vetting third-party faces and yet permits faces like these to pass through. This is pretty blatant theft of intellectual property. I personally avoid downloading faces that bear the obvious trade marks of legitimate brands, whether free or paid.

Requa
Requa

On the other hand, according to the Verge article, Swatch notified Samsung of some infringing designs, Samsung removed some in response, and Swatch is mad that Samsung didn’t do enough. Samsung may have a burden of not allowing blatantly infringing designs, but I don’t think it can be expected to scour its entire store looking for any designs that might be similar to some other design out there. Maybe it is not so clear after all.

Fuad976
Fuad976

Watch face is little of what can smart watch give you, But it is almost everything for the classic watches. Classic watch manufacturers are fighting the change instead of riding the wave.

MagicalWingLT
MagicalWingLT

Not only are they stupid but greedy. If they are so butt hurt over this why don’t they make watch faces for the Galaxy store then and sell them? People are downloading the watch faces because it’s obvious that people like their designs. Also they should go after those developers that are selling them for a profit. Don’t go after the ones that have it up for free…. And don’t go after Samsung for it… It makes no sense to do that….

locarno
locarno

I like watchfaces with Rolex, Casio etc. logos. Of course not all are in Galaxy Apps.
But I think Swatch is stupid if this watchfaces were created by third party developers.