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Irish software development studio Probendi is suing Apple in a Milan court for using its "iWatch" trademark in Europe as part of a Google AdWords campaign, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been paying for sponsored links on Google in an attempt to redirect users that search for "iWatch" to the Apple Watch website, in order to avoid missing out on customers that search for the wrong product name.
"Apple has systematically used iWatch wording on Google search engine in order to direct customers to its own website, advertising Apple Watch," says a tribunal filing obtained by Bloomberg. "Apple never replied to our requests and objections, while Google said they are not responsible for links."
probendi-logo.png

"iWatch" was a commonly used name to refer to Apple's much-rumored smartwatch before it was released, however the device was ultimately named the Apple Watch. Apple filed for "iWatch" trademarks in Japan, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey and other countries, but Probendi has owned the trademark in Europe since 2008 for its health and safety communication software.

iWatch-Google.jpg

Google's AdWords trademark policy states that it "will investigate and may enforce certain restrictions on the use of that trademark in AdWords text ads," but the company has yet to take any action against Apple. As of writing, searching for "iWatch" on Google in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and multiple other European countries still displays Apple Watch sponsored text ads.

Probendi originally planned to capitalize on Apple's announcement of the Apple Watch last year by using its "iWatch" trademark in Europe to launch its own Android smartwatch, but company director Daniele Di Salvo now says the project is "in standby."

A hearing in the iWatch case is scheduled for November 11.

Article Link: Apple Being Sued in Europe Over 'iWatch' Ad Campaign on Google
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
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Germany
i thought the adwords system doesnt allow trademarked words / keywords to be used in organic search results anyway?

i remember one time i tried to use the keyword "Zumba" assuming its just the name of a dance and i got an error right away
 
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iChristos.

macrumors newbie
Jun 2, 2015
10
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Oh sorry everyone has to learn that Apple Watch is the actual Watch rather than the health and safety communication software. I mean duh.
 
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oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,615
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Europe
Apple Watch = a watch.

iWatch = health and safety communication software.

Where is the scope for consumer confusion with their products / services, exactly?

Move along, Probendi.

Oh sorry everyone has to learn that Apple Watch is the actual Watch rather than the health and safety communication software. I mean duh.

How is Google supposed to know whether the user is searching for a watch or a health and safety communications software if all the user types in is "iwatch"?
 
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H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,990
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Apple Watch = a watch.

iWatch = health and safety communication software.

Where is the scope for consumer confusion with their products / services, exactly?

Move along, Probendi.
Yep, because I can release a trike called a BMW, (which is not a car), and they wouldn’t get upset about it.
 
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Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,230
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How is Google supposed to know whether the user is searching for a watch or a health and safety communications software if all the user types in is "iwatch"?
They can track which result a user clicks on after they search for the term... and build statistics.
This is Google's specialty, tracking people and what they read and do.
 

kcirtap00

macrumors regular
Oct 21, 2014
131
329
In the US, this wouldn't even be a case because Apple isn't actually using that term in marketing or claiming ownership of that term, but who knows what passes as legal with Europe's increasingly ridiculous laws.
 
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Robert.Walter

macrumors 68020
Jul 10, 2012
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In the US, this wouldn't even be a case because Apple isn't actually using that term in marketing or claiming ownership of that term, but who knows what passes as legal with Europe's increasingly ridiculous laws.

Much less Italy, the land with clown-car style court system.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,338
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Yep, because I can release a trike called a BMW, (which is not a car), and they wouldn’t get upset about it.

I would say a trike and a car are more closely related than Apple Watch and health software.

It's more like releasing a chair called a BMW. Yes, a BMW car has seats. No, no one on earth will ever mix up your chair with a car. Similarly, nobody on earth will ever mix up the Apple Watch and health software.
 

tdmac

macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2008
353
6
So Coca-Cola is not allowed to use 'Pepsi' as a sponsored link? I don't know of any law that says this is illegal.
Exactly. Companies buy keywords of competitors all the time to target ads to them. That is a direct competitor for the same product and service. In this case the other company isn't selling anything the same and thus wouldn't be loosing sales to Apple anyway. What's the issue?
 
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MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
4,545
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Why is he using Apple instead of Google? Google is solely responsible for this, not Apple. Apple is paying to show their ads when certain words are used, it is up to Google for showing these ads.

Over the years, many companies, including American Airlines, Geico, and Rosetta Stone, have tried to take on Google or its advertisers in court over trademark issues, often unsuccessfully. Google’s policy for its ad service says it evaluates trademark complaints on a case-by-case basis and “may enforce certain restrictions.” Giacomo Bonelli, a lawyer for Probendi, says, “Apple never replied to our requests and objections, while Google said they are not responsible for links.” Apple and Google declined to comment on the case.

I'm surprised Google is saying they're not responsible for links, it's not a link, it's a sponsored ad spot, they are responsible.

In addition, Probendi has no case here. It's a smart ad based on a keyword, they do not own the word entirely, they only own it for health related purposes.
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
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If you type a word into any search engines, you often get ads that pop up from competing products. But the engine should also display correct results. When I type iwatch into google, i get nothing but Apple Watch new stories, links to Apple, and images of Apple watches. When I simply go to iwatch.com, there is nothing but a squatter site (for loans). After clicking through several pages of the results for iwatch, I could find no mention of the Probendi product. Either Apple really has taken over the iwatch term and usurped this company or the company has never put anything out to show up in the search engine results. It will be interesting to see what evidence is provided here.
 

TheRealTVGuy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2010
688
1,123
Orlando, FL
Don't like it? Then do what every other company out there is doing: Spend more money on your AdWords campaign so that YOU take the top spot. This is ridiculous...
 
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flyinmac

macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2006
3,578
2,454
United States
I would say a trike and a car are more closely related than Apple Watch and health software.

It's more like releasing a chair called a BMW. Yes, a BMW car has seats. No, no one on earth will ever mix up your chair with a car. Similarly, nobody on earth will ever mix up the Apple Watch and health software.

Oh, just wait... Somebody would order the $15 BMW chair and complain when it arrived in the U.S. Mail and wasn't a complete car.
 
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