Did Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) just inadvertently confirm the existence of the iWatch? According to the Russian language site izvestia.ru, Apple has filed for ownership of the “iWatch” trademark in Russia. The report claims that Apple has filed for this trademark name under the ninth and fourteenth classes of the International Classification of Goods and Services.
The Russian article also notes the difficulty that Apple may have in securing a successful registration of this trademark. According to izvestia.ru, Rospatent — otherwise known as the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property — rejected an earlier application from another company to trademark the iWatch name under the fourteenth class because it was too similar to the “iswatch” trademark than has already been awarded to the Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch AG.
Apple Insider notes that in the past Apple has registered names of products in various countries before the official debut, but it is usually done through shell corporations in order to prevent these types of leaks. It is unclear from the Russian language report whether or not Apple filed this trademark application under its own name or used a shell corporation name.
Rumors of Apple’s smart watch development have been around since December of last year. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently wrote in a note to investors that Apple won’t debut the iWatch until the second half of 2014. He believes the device will have a 1.5 to 2-inch screen size and will feature biometric capabilities that will be used for secure user access as well as possible healthcare features similar to Nike’s (NYSE:NKE) FuelBand. Other rumors suggest the smart watch will utilize Corning’s (NYSE:GLW) flexible Willow Glass.
An iWatch device is likely to become commercial success. According to a consumer research survey from 451 Research’s Changewave service, 5 percent of respondents indicated that they would be “very likely” to purchase a smart watch from Apple. Another 14 percent of respondents said that they would be “somewhat likely” to purchase an “iWatch” for either themselves or someone else. This level of consumer interest is practically identical to what Changewave discovered in a similar survey about a potential Apple tablet device that was conducted in January 2010 before the iPad was introduced.
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