Swiss watchmaker Swatch has filed a lawsuit against Samsung, claiming that some watch faces on Samsung's smartwatches infringe on its own designs.
Swatch is suing for $100 million over watch faces that feature on Samsung's Gear Sport, Gear, Galaxy Watch, S3 Classic and Frontier smartwatches, which it claims are “identical or virtually identical” to its own.
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To its credit, they clearly are, however the copycat faces were designed by third parties and not Samsung itself. Not that this matters too much to Swatch, which points out that Samsung has the ability to remove faces from its store, and takes a cut of the profits from faces and apps sold on its store.
Swatch said it asked Samsung to remove the infringing designs and claims Samsung responded, telling Swatch it would remove the offending faces, but Swatch says that Samsung did not get rid of all of them and didn't perform a full review of its store.
And if you think $100 millions sounds excessive, bear in mind that one of the alleged culprits mimics a $650,000 Jaquet Droz Tropical Bird Repeater Swatch design. Neither Swatch nor Samsung are strangers to the courts, but this case could have a knock-on effect on the wider industry. For example, the Wear OS Play Store has had its share of copycat designs, so this lawsuit could have Google and others thinking more carefully about regulation.
It's also pertinent to the details that Swatch is set to launch its own smartwatch platform this year, possibly as soon as Baselworld.
“This is a blatant, willful and international violation of our trademarks by Samsung,” a Swatch spokesman said in a statement to Reuters. We've asked Samsung for comment and will update this story when we hear back.
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