Swatch sues Samsung over alleged watchface trademark infringements

Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group, which owns brands like Rado, Omega, Tissot, Longines, and Swatch, has filed for a 100 million lawsuit against Samsung.
Feb 27, 2019

Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group, which owns renowned brands like Rado, Omega, Tissot, Longines, and Swatch, has filed for a $100 million lawsuit against Samsung Electronics and Samsung Electronics America. The complaint has been filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York over trademark infringements.

Samsung sued for trademark breach

Swatch Group claims that over 30 of Samsung's downloadable watch faces “bear identical or virtually identical marks” to the trademarks it owns. The Swiss company has demanded a trial, alleging Samsung of unfair competition and unfair business practices. The watchmaker is also seeking over $100 million in damages.

“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,” Swatch Group said in the court filing.

“This is a blatant, willful and international violation of our trademarks by Samsung. The affected brands are worth billions. Our claim for compensation? Triple digits in millions,” a Swatch spokesman told Reuters.

Swatch has already initiated legal proceedings in the US, where its trademarks are registered. It is, however, not clear if the said watch faces were indeed cloned by Samsung, or designed by the company itself. Also, most of the watch faces in question are designed and published by third-party developers, although Samsung still pockets a portion of the revenue.

Swatch had apparently reached out to Samsung directly in late December. The Korean giant allegedly removed the watch faces, but didn't admit it copied any watch faces. This is, however, not the first time Samsung's downloadable watch faces have been under scanner. The company was questioned earlier as to how third-party watch faces that blatantly copy iconic watch designs pass its store approval process. Samsung is yet to comment on this matter.

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