Can I Trademark a Watch Design?
A watch design itself cannot be trademarked since it is essentially just a blueprint for the product itself. However, you can absolutely trademark the name, logo, or slogan you’re using to promote, market, and sell your watches. In a highly competitive marketplace like jewelry and watch manufacturing where competitors seem to love to hijack the designs of others (Rolex Submariner, anyone?), trademarking your watch brand’s name, logo, and slogan can help strengthen your brand and distinguish your line from the lines of your competitors.
As for protecting the watch designs themselves, there are other avenues you can take. You can trademark the trade dress, or distinctive non-functional aspects of the design, provided those aspects are so unique that the public can easily determine the product’s source just by seeing that unique feature. Audemars Piguet accomplished this to much success, allowing them to successfully sue several designers piggy-backing off their hexagonal bezels. Further, you can apply for a design patent for the decorative non-functional features of your jewelry. Finally, original jewelry designs may be protected by copyright.
If you are a jewelry or watch designer interested in protecting your brand, contact us today to speak with trademark attorney Eric Norton to discuss the importance of trademarking your line’s name, logo, and slogan, as well as how it may be possible to protect the designs themselves. And if you’re in the business of designing “homage” watches, you definitely want to contact an intellectual property attorney as soon as possible.