Although Apple has not even confirmed its existence yet, the iWatch is already generating a lot of buzz in the tech industry. Now it appears that the device might already have some competition when it comes to coining the name.
Last week, Apple applied for a patent on the name "iWatch" in Japan. This came after reports of the device name being patented in Russia. CNET now reports the device's name is also in Apple Inc.'s back pocket in Mexico, Taiwan and Turkey. Now it is running into trademark trouble in the U.S., U.K., China and parts of Europe.
In the U.S. a California- based company known as OMG Electronics claims it holds the patent on the "iWatch" moniker. OMG is trying to crowd fund a smartwatch but has only raised a small portion of the necessary $100,000 goal since it put the project up on crowd funding site Indiegogo.
As for the U.K. and European Union, a network company called Probendi has had a claim to the name since 2008. However, its use of the "iWatch" brand name has nothing to do with a smartwatch. Instead, it refers to an app that sends audio, video and location data from a smartphone to the company's emergency management software.
In China, nine companies have claimed ownership of the "iWatch" name. However, CNET reports that most of these are invalid at this time.
All of this is a relatively moot point as Apple has the legal and financial ability to get around these obstacles to naming a potential new smartwatch to be the next in their "i" naming system. For those who don't think keeping this naming system is important enough to the company to bother with the financial and legal battlers, it is worth noting that, in order to have the name "iPad," the company had to fork over $60 million to a Chinese company Proview.