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your way. It may re­quire some ne­go­ti­a­tion, agree­ing to co-ex­ist with the own­ers of other rights. It may re­quire you to flash the cash to buy rights that are in the way. It may, as a last re­sort, re­quire you to swallow a bit­ter pill and un­der­stand that hav­ing a truly global trade­mark isn’t an op­tion for you, and that your prod­uct will be sold un­der one trade­mark in cer­tain coun­tries and un­der an­other trade­mark in other coun­tries.

The Ap­ple story also high­lights some­thing else — that trade­mark is­sues and re­quire­ments change with brand ex­ten­sions. You may well have all the pro­tec­tion that you need for your trade­mark right now. But if you ex­tend your prod­uct range you may need to start afresh — search­ing and reg­is­ter­ing. That’s be­cause hav­ing rights to a trade­mark for cer­tain prod­ucts doesn’t trans­late into hav­ing rights to that same trade­mark for other prod­ucts.

It’s an is­sue that would’ve faced Ap­ple. Whereas Ap­ple has for many years been in­volved in broadly sim­i­lar prod­ucts — com­put­ers, cell­phones, mo­bile de­vices — watches are quite dif­fer­ent, and they fall into a dif­fer­ent class of goods of the in­ter­na­tional trade­mark clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem. There’s a lot to take into ac­count.

Pic­ture: REUTERS

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