Irish software development studio Probendi is suing Apple in a Milan court for using its "iWatch" trademark in Europe as part of a Google AdWords campaign, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been paying for sponsored links on Google in an attempt to redirect users that search for "iWatch" to the Apple Watch website, in order to avoid missing out on customers that search for the wrong product name.

“Apple has systematically used iWatch wording on Google search engine in order to direct customers to its own website, advertising Apple Watch,” says a tribunal filing obtained by Bloomberg. “Apple never replied to our requests and objections, while Google said they are not responsible for links.”

probendi-logo
"iWatch" was a commonly used name to refer to Apple's much-rumored smartwatch before it was released, however the device was ultimately named the Apple Watch. Apple filed for "iWatch" trademarks in Japan, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey and other countries, but Probendi has owned the trademark in Europe since 2008 for its health and safety communication software.

iWatch Google
Google's AdWords trademark policy states that it "will investigate and may enforce certain restrictions on the use of that trademark in AdWords text ads," but the company has yet to take any action against Apple. As of writing, searching for "iWatch" on Google in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and multiple other European countries still displays Apple Watch sponsored text ads.

Probendi originally planned to capitalize on Apple's announcement of the Apple Watch last year by using its "iWatch" trademark in Europe to launch its own Android smartwatch, but company director Daniele Di Salvo now says the project is “in standby.”

A hearing in the iWatch case is scheduled for November 11.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9

Top Rated Comments

LucasEVille Avatar
118 months ago
Probendi originally planned to capitalize on Apple's announcement of the Apple Watch last year by using its "iWatch" trademark in Europe to launch its own Android smartwatch ('https://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/29/probendi-android-iwatch/'), but company director Daniele Di Salvo now says the project is "in standby."
This bit paints a picture.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chuck Kostalnick Avatar
118 months ago
This is quite a silly lawsuit. Oh well, nothing like a company that is struggling to stay in business sue Apple to try and stay afloat.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iConnected Avatar
118 months ago
Apple Watch = a watch.

iWatch = health and safety communication software.

Where is the scope for consumer confusion with their products / services, exactly?

Move along, Probendi.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbeagle Avatar
118 months ago
So Coca-Cola is not allowed to use 'Pepsi' as a sponsored link? I don't know of any law that says this is illegal.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Proven-PPC-Mgr Avatar
118 months ago
I own an online advertising agency that manages Google Adwords ads for many clients and I'm a Certified Google Adwords Professional. You can bid on any trademarked keyword, but you can not include the trademarked word in your ad.

The people who manage Apple's ads on Google did nothing wrong here.

Anyone who does this for a living knows these specific details about Google's advertising policies, so it's a level playing field. For example, Probendi (or anyone else) could even bid on the keyword "apple watch" and there's nothing Apple can do about it as long as "apple watch" isn't anywhere in the ad text.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
unplugme71 Avatar
118 months ago
Yep, because I can release a trike called a BMW, (which is not a car), and they wouldn’t get upset about it.
Actually BMW manufacturers motorcycles. It's very similar, so yes, they would get upset about it. Now if your BMW made waffles, then shoot for the stars buddy.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone SE 4 Vertical Camera Feature

iPhone SE 4 Rumored to Use Same Rear Chassis as iPhone 16

Friday July 19, 2024 7:16 am PDT by
Apple will adopt the same rear chassis manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 that it is using for the upcoming standard iPhone 16, claims a new rumor coming out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker "Fixed Focus Digital," the backplate manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 is "exactly the same" as the standard model in Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 lineup, which is expected to...
iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
bsod

Crowdstrike Says Global IT Outage Impacting Windows PCs, But Mac and Linux Hosts Not Affected

Friday July 19, 2024 3:12 am PDT by
A widespread system failure is currently affecting numerous Windows devices globally, causing critical boot failures across various industries, including banks, rail networks, airlines, retailers, broadcasters, healthcare, and many more sectors. The issue, manifesting as a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), is preventing computers from starting up properly and forcing them into continuous recovery...
iphone 14 lineup

Cellebrite Unable to Unlock iPhones on iOS 17.4 or Later, Leak Reveals

Thursday July 18, 2024 4:18 am PDT by
Israel-based mobile forensics company Cellebrite is unable to unlock iPhones running iOS 17.4 or later, according to leaked documents verified by 404 Media. The documents provide a rare glimpse into the capabilities of the company's mobile forensics tools and highlight the ongoing security improvements in Apple's latest devices. The leaked "Cellebrite iOS Support Matrix" obtained by 404 Media...
Apple Watch Series 9

2024 Apple Watch Lineup: Key Changes We're Expecting

Tuesday July 16, 2024 7:59 am PDT by
Apple is seemingly planning a rework of the Apple Watch lineup for 2024, according to a range of reports from over the past year. Here's everything we know so far. Apple is expected to continue to offer three different Apple Watch models in five casing sizes, but the various display sizes will allegedly grow by up to 12% and the casings will get taller. Based on all of the latest rumors,...
tinypod apple watch

TinyPod Turns Your Apple Watch Into an iPod

Wednesday July 17, 2024 3:18 pm PDT by
If you have an old Apple Watch and you're not sure what to do with it, a new product called TinyPod might be the answer. Priced at $79, the TinyPod is a silicone case with a built-in scroll wheel that houses the Apple Watch chassis. When an Apple Watch is placed inside the TinyPod, the click wheel on the case is able to be used to scroll through the Apple Watch interface. The feature works...