Apple smartwatch, set to be launched this month, will not instantly find a place in the Swiss market because of a patent owned by local watch brand owner William Longe, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS. The patent, which was registered in 1985, is expected to delay the Apple Watch’s release in the country until Dec. 5.
Apple Watch launch delayed in Switzerland
The application filed with Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property prohibits the iPhone maker from using the word or image of an apple to promote any of the products in the category of watches and timepieces. In this regard, a copy of the document registered was also reproduced by the trade magazine Business Montres & Joaillerie.
According to a report published by Credit Suisse in October 2013, Switzerland is the world’s leader in exporting watches. The data suggests that the country’s total sales by exporting watches amounted to $112 billion in 2012, although in terms of volume, China topped the list with 678.5 million watches exported, which is 23 times more in number compared to the amount of exports recorded by Switzerland. However, the average export price for a Swiss watch was recorded to be $717, in contrast with the $3 for an average Chinese watch.
Patent will end later this year
The patent currently restricting Apple from launching in Switzerland will terminate later this year. Neither Apple nor the Swiss agency were available to comment on the case. But for now, the Apple Watch, the first new product since Tim Cook took over as the company’s CEO, will be available for sale in stores across nine countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S.) starting April 24. Apple will introduce three versions of the gadget, including the Apple Watch Sport, which starts at $349, and the extreme luxury $10,000 model with solid gold cases and custom-designed bands.
Last month, Swatch, the world’s biggest watchmaker, revealed its plan to come up with a watch integrated with cheap programmable chips in an effort to compete with Apple’s product. Such a smartwatch will enable consumers to make payments worldwide with just a swipe of their wrists.