back to article Hands off, Apple! Irish dev studio sues over alleged iWatch infringement

Cupertino's lawyers must hasten with all fair speed to Milan, where Irish company Probendi has filed a suit alleging infringement of the latter's iWatch trademark. Apple has placed an advertisement with Google to link to its wristjob when users search for the "iWatch", presumably to catch the eyes of novitiate fanbois not yet …

  1. People's Poet

    I love it when Apple...

    get it up them! They've been doing this kind of thing to other people for years! I hope they have to pay through the nose for it!

    1. Craig 2 Silver badge

      Re: I love it when Apple...

      Indeed, but are Probendi actively using the trademark or are they just a patent troll? They say that they are developing a competing watch product that will use the title, but are they really just waiting for an Apple pay-day?

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: I love it when Apple...

        but are Probendi actively using the trademark or are they just a patent troll?

        You know that trademarks and patents are different things, right? IANAL, but I think that the laws around trademarks are such that if you don't actively defend them, you risk losing them. AFAIK there aren't any similar rules for patents so failing to sue for patent infringement (or sitting on it until it becomes more worthwhile to do so) doesn't invalidate your rights as a patent holder. If I'm right on these points then there shouldn't be any such thing as a "trademark troll".

        Far from being a troll, I'm pretty sure that Probendi are pretty much forced to take action here.

      2. NigelD

        Re: I love it when Apple...

        Looking at the Probendi site (http://www.probendi.ie) suggests this is a troll. Looking at their mobile development 'offer' it's not the most appealing offer I've seen.

        1. ratfox Silver badge

          Re: I love it when Apple...

          It's almost certainly a trademark troll. I assume they tried to sell the trademark to Apple for a huge sum and were rebuffed.

          From what Ars Technica says, buying ads with a competitor's trademark as keyword has generally been ruled legal, as long as the trademark does not appear in the text of the ad. So I imagine they're out of luck on this one.

    2. Bob Vistakin
      FAIL

      Re: I love it when Apple...

      And when they do apologise, they apologise wrong and have to do it again.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      It is not called the iWatch

      Should I sue Samsung for calling their latest phone the DougS? No, because it is the Galaxy S6....makes as much sense as this suit.

      Maybe they're worried Apple plans to change the name to iWatch and this is a preliminary suit to given them proven rights in court - so they can charge Apple $100 million for the name. Not sure about Milan, but in the US the courts would throw this out immediately since Apple isn't using the name iWatch for anything!

  2. Graham Marsden
    Happy

    "Two companies, both alike in dignity, in fair Milan"

    A pox on both their houses...

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: "Two companies, both alike in dignity, in fair Milan"

      "The Register has contacted Apple for comment and has not received a response as of publication"

      No shit, Shylok...

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: "Two companies, both alike in dignity, in fair Milan"

      What light through yonder Windows 10 breaks?

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Re: "Two companies, both alike in dignity, in fair Milan"

        It is the east and Steve Job's ars. . .

        1. ratfox Silver badge

          Re: "Two companies, both alike in dignity, in fair Milan"

          What's in a name? That which we call a rose

          By any other name would smell as sweet;

          So iWatch would, were it not iWatch call'd,

          Retain that dear perfection which it owes

          Without that title. iWatch, doff thy name,

          And for that name which is no part of thee

          Take all myself.

          with Tim Cook in the role of Juliet

  3. Dazed and Confused

    I would say

    That sounds like easy money, but I'll probably get sued for using that word too.

  4. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Flame

    Company legal department

    Surely Apple have one whose job it is to check basics?

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Company legal department

      Well you'd have thought it, but they have a history of having product launches only to find that someone has owned the trademark for years for what ever product they want to launch. Since they are repeat offenders here you'd think they'd learn. But no

  5. Phuq Witt
    Thumb Up

    Money-Making Opportunity

    Fair play to them. Sounds like a good long-term investment to me:

    * Get out crystal ball and/or chicken entrails

    * Divine which market Apple intend 'disrupting' next

    * Register trademark with that word preceded by the letter "I"

    * Wait a few years for said market to emerge

    * Consult Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne

    * Profit

    [Goes off to register iHome as a trademark]

    1. DJV Silver badge
      Happy

      iHome

      iThink someone's beaten you to it!

      http://ihomeaudiointl.com/

    2. Bob Vistakin
      Happy

      Re: Money-Making Opportunity

      A few have been thinking along similar lines for a while now.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    But why file suit in Milan?

    What's wrong with the Emerald Isle. After all almost everything is Green(backs) there.

    Is Milan in danger of becoming the East Texas of the EU?

    Come on El Reg, why don't you try to find these essential bits of information out. PErhaps Probendi will be more forthcoming with quotes than (nasty rotten) Apple?

    1. maffski

      Re: But why file suit in Milan?

      In the article it says 'Probendi is represented by the Milanese intellectual property lawyers Barzanò & Zanardo....'

      As it's an Irish company vs Apple I suspect an 'agreement' will be reached and the iWatch trademark transferred.

    2. Will 28

      Re: But why file suit in Milan?

      I was talking to a friend of mine in the pub about this. While that may seem an indication that this information is not high quality, I'd note that he is a patent attorney that deals with exactly this sort of thing.

      Apparently the Italian trademark legal system is the least efficient and most arkward one to deal with. If you were seeking a settlement and wanted to make it least appealing to contest this, you'd go there as the costs and annoyance to a business would be much more.

      He also suggested they had a very poor case because iWatch is such a weak trademark (watch is useless as a trademark because it's descriptive, and everyone's putting an "i" in front of things), but I'll leave it to him if he wants to come on here and share the rest of his view on this :).

  7. Velv Silver badge

    Hold your horses there Sparky

    Apple (in the UK at least) use the term "Apple Watch". I could find no reference to "Apple iWatch" being used directly by Apple, so they have simply paid money to Google in the background to link the word to the product pages.

    Google has a very clear policy on using trademark words in AdWords, the first Acton of which is for the trademark holder to file a complaint with Google.

    So much as I like the schadenfreude of Apple being sued, this is never going to see a court or even result in a settlement

    1. Steve Gill

      Re: Hold your horses there Sparky

      Didst thou miss the enlightenment of this issue within yon article - "Apple has placed an advertisement with Google to link to its wristjob when users search for the "iWatch", presumably to catch the eyes of novitiate fanbois not yet to fully au fait with the wristjob's true branding." ?

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