Samsung has ensnared itself into a $100 million lawsuit for allegedly copying the face designs of Swatch smartwatches. Just a few days after the smartphone manufacturer unveiled its new Galaxy Watch Active, the Swiss watchmaker filed a lawsuit alleging that Samsung’s third-party developers have copied their designs from its downloadable smartwatch faces.
Filed on the February 22nd, Swatch’s complaint is attached with images that appear to be almost identical clones of watch faces you can buy for Samsung Gear Sport, Gear S3 Classic, and Frontier.
Swatch alleged that more than 30 of the Korean tech giant’s watch faces were “identical or virtually identical” to its trademarks, according to Reuters. The complaint claims that its customers would be misled by the copied designs believing that Samsung, which it has accused of unfair business practices, had an ongoing deal whereas they don’t.
Available in the Galaxy Apps store for purchase, the allegedly copied Samsung watchfaces were designed by third-party developers, though Samsung receives royalties from the revenue, says the complaint. One of the rare watches designed for collectors; the Jaquet Droz Tropical Bird Repeater, which costs about $650,000, was one of the cloned watchfaces, Swatch noted.
Swatch claims it had directly contacted Samsung in late December in the complaint, sharing a list of watchfaces the Smartphone maker had copied from its collections. Samsung had responded by removing some of the watchfaces but wasn’t as clinical as Swatch wanted. Swatch says Samsung refused review the entire Galaxy App store and failed to admit it had copied any watchfaces.
Samsung later on February 15th confirmed in a letter saying it had deleted some watchfaces, not all, informing Swatch that the message wasn’t getting through. However, Swatch says that even after Samsung’s response, the Korean tech company still uploaded new watchfaces to its Galaxy App store that still copy Swatch designs in style and color.
“This is a blatant, willful and international violation of our trademarks by Samsung,” says a Swatch spokesman.
Considering Samsung’s poor response, “it is reasonable to conclude that Defendants will continue to infringe Trademarks,” to inflict more “loss and damage” to the Swiss watchmaker, Swatch wrote, asking for Samsung’s trial in New York and $100 million in damages.
Swatch has a history of taking legal action
Swatch sued Tiffany & Co in 2013 for not honoring a business deal, sued Target in 2014 for allegedly copying its watch designs and even sued Bloomberg in 2011 for allegedly recording an earnings call. Swatch Group filed for 173 patents related to smartwatch in 2015, with many already under its name.
Swatch Group in 2018 reported an operating profit increase of 70%, despite facing stiff competition from WearOS and Apple Watch.