Following news of Apple’s trademarking spree for iWatch in several countries, a Sina Tech report notes today that the company’s efforts to protect the name may stumble in China – given that the iWatch trademark has previously been registered in the country and there exists a current trademark for a highly-similar name “iWatching”.

According to the report, nine companies have already registered for the iWatch trademark, with three of them falling under the category of watches and other computer peripherals. This would clash with Apple’s intention for iWatch if the rumors of it developing a smartwatch are true.

Though the report noted that the “iWatch” trademarks are currently invalid as they have lapsed and Apple could jump in now, an obstacle looms in the form of a highly-similar trademark that is currently in effect – that of “iWatching”. The trademark was successfully registered by a Taiwanese company under the category of computer peripherals.

It has been reported that Apple has a team of “about 100 product designers” working on a new device, similar to a wristwatch, that can perform many of the tasks currently dominated by the iPhone and iPad – which could include the ability to make phone calls, identify incoming callers and check map routes. It is also said to include a pedometer for counting steps and a number of sensors for tracking other health-related data.

Apple has previously run into legal trouble in China over patents and trademarks. Last year, Apple had to pay Taiwanese firm Proview $60 million to settle an issue over the ownership of the iPad trademark in China. Shanghai-based Zhi Zhen Internet Technology had filed a patent lawsuit against Apple for allegedly infringing on its voice assistant service with Siri, while Chinese chemical company Jiangsu Xeubao also brought a lawsuit against Apple in China, claiming that the company infringed on its trademark of the name Snow Leopard back in 2000.

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