When the Apple Watch goes on sale April 24, one place it will be conspicuous in its absence is Switzerland: the spiritual home of the wristwatch, which Jony Ive famously (allegedly) said was “f**ked” due to the awesomeness of Apple’s upcoming wearable.
One possible reason? A trademark claim made by a company called Leonard Timepieces for a watch and watch parts carrying the image of an apple and the English word “APPLE.” First filed in 1985 — not too long after Apple originally launched the Mac — the 30-year trademark expires on December 5, 2015.
According to reports, the trademark owner (who seems to have never actually made and sold his “Apple watch”) is currently negotiating with Apple to purchase the trademark (“at no doubt a high cost”) and, until this is done, is completely blocking both marketing and sales of the Apple Watch in Switzerland.
Of course, it would make a lot of sense for other rival watch-makers to pool their resources to try and persuade the owner to renew the trademark come December, although I’d expect a deal to be reached with Apple. Then again, when you consider how important Swiss watches are as an export for Switzerland, it’s impossible to entirely predict how courts will rule — if things get that far.
Not that would-be Apple Watch owners living in Switzerland are going to entirely be left high and dry. After all, it’s only a short drive to France or Germany to pick one up…