Russian newspaper Izvestia reports [Google translation, via AppleInsider] that Apple has filed for a trademark on the term “iWatch” in Russia, supporting rumors that the company is planning to launch a smart watch as soon as later this year.
The Russian trademark filing is said to claim a priority registration date of December 3, 2012 in Jamaica. Apple and other companies frequently file first in Caribbean countries such as Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago where records are not easily searchable online, using those priority dates to help secure protection in other countries at later dates.
According to the report, Apple has applied for protection on the “iWatch” name in two trademark classes: Class 9, which includes computers and peripherals; and Class 14, which includes various types of jewelry such as watches.
Izvestia reports that Apple faces a bit of competition for the iWatch name in markets around the world, including in the United States where multiple companies have received trademarks on variations of the term in Class 9. Even in Russia, another company’s 2011 application for the iWatch trademark in Class 14 was denied due to similarities to an existing “iSwatch” trademark held by Swiss watchmaker Swatch.
While efforts by Apple to protect the “iWatch” name are suggestive of plans to launch such a product, they are by no means definitive. In the lead-up to the iPad launch, we discovered that Apple had been seeking to secure rights to iSlate trademarks and domain names, only to later discover evidence that it was also protecting the iPad name. Both of those efforts were performed with the use of dummy corporations designed to hide Apple’s role in securing the names, but it appears that Apple is not resorting to such measures with the iWatch name.