As smartwatches based on Android Wear and other operating systems continue to proliferate, users have been increasingly looking to download digital likenesses of high-end watch faces onto their favorite wearable tech devices. The luxury watchmakers behind the real-world design of the digital "fake" versions are now attempting to put an end to those creating smartwatch clones of their products, according to TorrentFreak.

Last week, Apple released its WatchKit developer tools, allowing developers to begin creating apps for the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. Those developer tools do not currently support the creation of custom watch face designs, but it is possible they could do so in the future once Apple begins supporting fully native Apple Watch apps next year.

Companies including IWC, Panerai, Omega, Fossil, Armani, Michael Kors, Tissot, Certina, Swatch, Flik Flak, and Mondaine are sending cease-and-desist notices to websites, and even individuals, thought to be offering faces for Android Wear and other smartwatch platforms without permission. The watchmakers are citing various registered trademark, design, and copyright violations.

Richemont, the company behind IWC, Cartier, and Panerai, is one of the front-runners of the legal action and is giving owners of the pirate watch face sites as little as twenty-four hours to remove all infringing content.

Screenshot (5)
TorrentFreak spoke with Luke, the owner of FaceRepo, one of the watchface download sites targeted by pirate allegations. He voiced support of the anti-piracy steps being taken, and detailed the use of a keyword filter they use that helps stop infringing content before it can even be uploaded. Users are also notified if their created designs are infringing copyright, and goes so far as to deactivate accounts of repeat offenders.

“Although some of the replica faces we’ve received take downs for are very cool looking and represent significant artistic talent on the part of the designer, we believe that owners of copyrights or trademarks have the right to defend their brand,” Luke explained.

“If a copyright or trademark owner contacts us, we will promptly remove infringing material. To date, all requests for removal of infringing material have been satisfied within a matter of hours.”

Apple itself hasn't even become a player yet in the smartwatch market and has already faced allegations such as these. Back in 2012, the Swiss Federal Railway service accused Apple of copying its iconic railway clock. A few months after the allegation, Apple reportedly paid the company $21 million for the rights to the clock face design.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 8
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

DanielSw Avatar
105 months ago
That's a lot for a watch face...

No it isn't, mainly because you don't know the intended usage, nor the terms of the licensing agreement.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rossatron Avatar
105 months ago
Well that's just stupid, most high end watch faces are standard and used among many brands.

that is untrue on so many levels
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordQ Avatar
105 months ago
That's a lot for a watch face...

And stupid considering they ditched it in iOS 7.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
105 months ago
That's a lot for a watch face...

That's because someone at Apple messed up and used the design, and _afterwards_ Apple paid for a license, from a very very bad negotiation position. It would have been a lot less if Apple had negotiated first and signed the contract and _then_ used the design.

Let's say you drive away in my car in front of a dozen witnesses. You are caught and you say "I didn't want to steal that car, I wanted to buy it and used it for a test drive. How much do you want for it"?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doelcm82 Avatar
105 months ago
Why can't all companies sit down and establish some kind of standard together for plain smartwatch faces? (standard 12/24 hours clock with the date)
Then everyone's watch would look double-plus identical.

----------

The killer app for smart watches will be watch face editors. You want a Mickey Mouse watch with the bloody hands from Escape from Tomorrow? Just rip the images from websites (or make your own), and assign them to the relevant parts in the editor.

Well maybe not a killer app, but the smart watch equivalent of ringtone editors.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lincolntran Avatar
105 months ago
ah

And welcome to the world of Android :o

The wild west where laws are optional?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Emergency SOS via Satellite iPhone YT

Apple's iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite Feature Saves Stranded Man in Alaska

Thursday December 1, 2022 4:37 pm PST by
With the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple rolled out a Emergency SOS via Satellite, which is designed to allow iPhone 14 owners to contact emergency services using satellite connectivity when no cellular or WiFi connection is available. The feature was put to the test in Alaska today, when a man became stranded in a rural area. In the early hours of the morning on December 1, Alaska State Troopers ...
iPhone Measure Height

Newer iPhones Allow You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly — Here's How

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:23 am PST by
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models feature a LiDAR Scanner next to the rear camera that can be used to measure a person's height instantly in Apple's preinstalled Measure app. To measure a person's height, simply open the Measure app, point your iPhone at the person you want to measure, and make sure they are visible on the screen from...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
iOS 16

When Will iOS 16.2 Be Released?

Friday December 2, 2022 2:13 pm PST by
Apple in late October began testing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, providing betas to both developers and public beta testers. As of now, we've had four total betas, with the fourth beta having been released earlier this week. iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are expected before the end of the year, and we thought we'd try to narrow down the launch timeline. With only four betas released since...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

Major RAM Upgrade Coming to Next-Generation MacBook Pro

Friday December 2, 2022 2:03 am PST by
The next-generation MacBook Pro models could feature faster RAM, according to a recent report from a reliable source. MacRumors Forums member "Amethyst," who accurately revealed details about the Mac Studio and Studio Display before those products were announced, recently provided information about Apple's upcoming 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The new machines are expected to feature...
iPad 10 Battery Pull Tabs

iPad 10 Teardown Reveals Why Device Isn't Compatible With Apple Pencil 2

Thursday December 1, 2022 10:48 am PST by
Do-it-yourself repair website iFixit today shared a video teardown of Apple's new 10th-generation iPad, providing a closer look inside the tablet and revealing why the device lacks support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. The teardown reveals the internal layout of the iPad, including its two-cell 7,606 mAh battery, logic board with the A14 Bionic chip, and more. As suspected, the...
android apple fix rcs

Google Again Criticizes Apple for Not Adopting RCS for Messages App: 'Their Texting is Stuck in the 1990s'

Friday December 2, 2022 10:54 am PST by
Google is continuing on with its attempt to convince Apple to adopt the RCS messaging standard, publishing a new "it's time for RCS" blog post. Promoted heavily by Google, RCS or Rich Communication Services is a messaging standard that is designed to replace the current SMS messaging standard. It provides support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, and bigger file sizes, ...
ios 16 2 beta notifiation center

PSA: Older Notifications No Longer Hidden in Notification Center in iOS 16.2 Beta 4

Friday December 2, 2022 5:23 am PST by
In a small but significant change to the way the Notification Center works in the latest iOS 16.2 beta, older notifications are now shown by default without having to swipe up. In the current release as well as earlier versions of iOS 16, users do not automatically see older notifications in the Notification Center like they did in iOS 15, and instead must manually swipe up from the middle...
lastpass

LastPass Hacked for Second Time This Year

Friday December 2, 2022 4:04 am PST by
Password management app LastPass says it is investigating a security incident after an "unauthorized party" compromised its systems on Wednesday and gained access to some customer information. The information was stored in a third-party cloud service shared by LastPass and parent company GoTo, said LastPass CEO Karim Toubba in a blog post. Toubba said the hackers used information stolen from ...
Apple Card Savings

Apple Card Customer Agreement Updated for 'Upcoming' Savings Account Feature

Friday December 2, 2022 11:43 am PST by
Goldman Sachs this week updated its Apple Card customer agreement to reflect the credit card's upcoming Daily Cash savings account feature, which was expected to launch with iOS 16.1 but appears to have been delayed. "To enable new ways to use Daily Cash like the upcoming Savings account feature, we are updating the Daily Cash Program section of your Apple Card Customer Agreement," reads an...