A recent report from South Korea citing industry sources suggests Japanese watch manufacturer Orient Watch is seeking to suspend sales of the new Samsung Galaxy Watch on accounts that the OEM’s product, or more specifically the new moniker adopted by the Korean tech giant’s latest smartwatch, violates the unfair competition prevention and trademark laws. To this end, Orient Watch has filed an application with the Seoul Central District Court on October 24 but the report also claims that Samsung Electronics has yet to receive any official information in regards to a potential lawsuit. On the other hand, this turn of events could indicate that Orient Watch might be considering developing its own smartwatches and enter the emerging market segment in the future.
According to an unnamed official cited by the Korean news outlet, the Japanese watchmaker has registered both the “Galaxy” and “Galaxy Gold” trademarks decades ago and has had the rights to use these monikers since 1984. Having said that, Samsung’s latest smartwatch went through a renaming process and dropped the “Gear” moniker used for the previous generations, in favor of the “Galaxy Watch” naming scheme, in a quest to align the wearable series with its popular smartphone lineup. Nevertheless, unlike other classic watchmakers like Hublot, Fossil, and Mont Blanc, who have joined the smartwatch market segment over the past few years, Orient Watch has remained focused on its mechanical and quartz-based watches designed for both men and women, which are generally split between the “Classic” and “Contemporary” categories. But interestingly enough, the same unnamed official cited by Korea IT Times claims that Samsung’s new naming philosophy for its latest wearable would make it “practically difficult” for Orient Watch to develop and market a smartwatch following its decades-old trademarked brands.
This isn’t, in any way, a confirmation that the Japanese company will eventually develop its own smartwatch, but nevertheless, the report suggests that the watchmaker wants to at least keep the doors open for this possibility. As for what a potential unfair competition prevention and trademark lawsuit would mean for Samsung and the Galaxy Watch, well, it’s difficult to tell given the early stages of this alleged development. Nevertheless, assuming that the Seoul Central District Court would agree with Orient Watch, it could mean that Samsung might be forced (or willing) to pay some royalties in order to keep the Galaxy Watch on store shelves. It might also lead to Samsung having to rename the smartwatch series once again for the next generation.