Swatch Can't Revive IP Row Over Panavision's 'Swatchball' Trademark

Film equipment company Panavision Europe Ltd. on Tuesday nixed a suit brought by Swiss watchmaker Swatch AG in European Union General Court alleging Panavision infringed its trademark with its "Swatchball" film editing product, with the court finding the companies' products are too different to constitute infringement. 
The three-judge panel in Luxembourg found that although both marks contain the word "Swatch," the watchmaker's argument that the relevant public is likely to link the marks falls flat because the products are dramatically different. Swatch was ordered to pay costs for the proceedings.
"The absence of similarity between the goods and services in question and the differences between their relevant publics ... are such that they are liable to exclude the existence of any link between the marks at issue," the ruling said. "[Swatch's] argument is inoperative inasmuch as the application for registration at issue explicitly excluded goods and services relating to timekeeping."

The decision also noted that the two companies target different consumers.

The ruling upholds a November 2013 ruling by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market's Board of Appeal.