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Watchmakers take aim at smart copies

According to reports, luxury-watchmakers have begun to crack down on the increasing trend of replicating traditional watch faces for smart devices. Piracy news website TorrentFreak says brands include Omega, Fossil and Cartier has been sending cease-and-desist notices to websites providing their watch-face designs for download. Most smartwatches provides users with the opportunity to customise the design. One of the watch-face website stated that it acted quickly to remove the copyrighted designs. Smartwatches are currently available from a range of companies that include Samsung, Sony and L.G. Apple is going to launch a version next year.

Richemond – the firm behind such brands like Cartier IWC and Panerai – has lodged notices against watch-face websites citing breaches of its trademark rights. In some instances, TorrentFreak reports, they are giving websites 24 hours to delete infringing content. “We prefer to never comment on trademark protection issues,” Richemond said. Smartwatch-owned Omega, which was also brought up by TorrentFreak as demanding take downs, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Websites like Facerepo provide users the opportunity to download a traditional face on to their smartwatches.  They categorised themselves as “a repository of watch-faces for Android Wear devices. All faces hosted on the site are the property of the original content creator”.

They explained to TorrentFreak that if they acted fast when removing watch-faces which are infringing copyright. They stated; “Although some of the replica faces we’ve received take-downs for are very cool-looking and represent significant artistic talent on the part of the designer, we believe that owners of copyrights or trademarks have the right to defend their brand.” Apple launched its WatchKit developer tools last week, which allows developers to start creating apps for the Apple Watch. At present, these tools don’t support the production of custom watch-face designs.

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