Apple Watch facing trademark troubles in Switzerland

After trademark troubles which hit both the iPhone in the USA and the iPad in China in the past, Apple's Watch is now facing a similar issue – in Switzerland.

In this European country, a brand known as Leonard Timepieces has a trademark that gives it the exclusive rights to use the word "apple" on jewellery including watches.

The trademark also covers the use of apple images on jewellery and watches.

Phone Arena says, citing local TV media, that the trademark owned by Leonard Timepieces covers "precious metals and their alloys and goods in these materials or coated therewith, not included in other classes, or jewellery, jewellery, stones precious stones, watches and timepieces.”

This means that the American smartphone and computer giant might have to wait until the trademark expires in order to start selling its watch in that country. Luckily for Apple, it won’t have to wait too long, because the trademark is to expire on 5 December 2015, after being in effect for 30 years.

But that is more than seven months after the 24 April global launch of the Apple Watch, and Apple might start throwing money Leonard Timepieces’ way to acquire the trademark.

Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property could not immediately be reached outside of normal business hours.

The least expensive Apple Watch - the Apple Watch Sport - starts at $349 (£234) for the 38 mm model.

The extreme luxury $10,000 (£6,600) model with solid-gold cases and custom-designed bands will also be made available in some stores.