Samsung Moves to Dismiss Swatch Trademark Suit

On May 14, Samsung Electronics filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it by 10 Swatch Group brands, saying it shouldn’t be blamed because its Galaxy Store contains smartwatch faces that allegedly infringe on the watchmaker’s trademarks.

Swatch’s complaint, filed in February in New York federal court, alleges that at least 30 smartwatch faces offered on the Samsung Galaxy Store violate its brands’ intellectual property, including its trademarks and “exclusive designs.”

Swatch’s legal papers gave the following watch faces as an example:

Swatch app store
An image from Swatch’s legal complaint

The suit charges trademark infringement, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, among other counts. It seeks damages, injunctive relief, and asks that Samsung provide to Swatch the names of the app developers.

Samsung’s response, filed May 14, notes that the allegedly infringing faces were all created by third-party developers, not by Samsung. It says that, after Swatch Group complained about the faces it had an issue with, Samsung removed the apps in question from its store.

“The fact that third parties may use an online platform to offer goods for sale does not make the online platform the seller of the goods in question,” said the motion. “Third-party developers create and upload the allegedly infringing digital watch faces to the Samsung Galaxy Store and…Samsung does not control this conduct.”

The filing further argues that Swatch would be better off pursuing the developers of the allegedly infringing watch faces rather than Samsung. It adds there is no allegation that any of the watch faces were offered for a fee—so Samsung didn’t necessarily share in the proceeds.

Along with Swatch USA, plaintiffs in the suit including Swatch-owned brands Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb, Jaquet Droz, Omega, Longines, Tissot, Mido, and Hamilton International.

At press time, the Swatch Group companies had not filed a response to the motion to dismiss.

(Top: Image courtesy of Samsung)

JCK News Director