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 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

LucasEVille Avatar
90 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
90 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
90 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
90 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
89 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
90 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

anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple's AR/VR Headset Nearing Completion as Board Gets Demo

Thursday May 19, 2022 9:52 am PDT by
Apple last week demonstrated its upcoming AR/VR headset to Apple board members, indicating that the device is in an advanced stage of development and could see a debut in the not too distant future, reports Bloomberg. Apple has also ramped up development of the software that runs on the headset, with that software expected to be called "RealityOS," or rOS for short. Render via designer Ian ...