Originally Posted by Tallest Skil
Originally Posted by Roger Khemlani
Nothing here to do with any patent law, its what trademark laws are based upon; as both marks are (phonetically) identical there is a clear chance of confusion which[/SIZE][/SIZE] constitutes an infringement of a trademark.
When you put an unpronounceable character in the name of your product, I
get to decide how to pronounce it.
Like Ke$ha. I call her Ke-dollar-ha.
You only get to decide how to MIS-pronounce it.
In particular & and @ are typographical signs that actually have specific meanings and pronunciations, because they are essentially akin to an advanced ligature.
In particular, the character in question is called the "commercial 'at'", just like in email@example.com, or "5lbs. of tomatoes @ $2/lbs."
Some people here debate anything as if Apple were perfect. Apple knows quite well that they will step on Trademarks, and in today's world that's nearly impossible. That's also why they are a big company, they will settle any claim with merit for a reasonable sum. Of course, when people have unreasonable demands, i.e. try to value the brand at what it's possibly worth for Apple, and not at what they might possibly have gained from that brand themselves, that Apple will litigate the other party into bankruptcy.
It's all standard business practice. Nothing to get riled up about.
So yes, iWatch clearly infringes on iw@ch, provided they cover similar product categories, and the iw@ch brand is not dormant or has a prior history of going undefended. The size of the market is irrelevant to the validity of a brand. If the iw@ch company were to (actively) be making custom watches for oil tycoons at the price of $20'000'000 each that need to be pre-ordered and require 6 years to be hand made by a combination of watch makers and electronic gurus in some craftman's shop in Switzerland, that would still be active use of the brand. It doesn't have to be mass marketed like a swatch to be a valid brand.