Luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet has come out victorious in a trademark dispute. The brand had taken Swiss Watch International, which operates the worldofwatches.com website, to court over their use of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak watch design.
After a lengthy trial, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Audemars Piguet has valid trademark rights in its Royal Oak watch design, that such rights were infringed by the sale of Swiss Watch International’s Swiss Legend Trimix Diver watches (which featured a very similar design to the Royal Oak). The Court also determined that Swiss Watch International engaged in an act of unfair competition.
In handing down this ruling, the Court awarded the full amount of Swiss Watch International’s profits and trebled them for bad-faith conduct, meaning Audemars Piguet will receive $9.8 million in damages. Audemars Piguet will also be allowed to apply for an award of its attorney’s fees and costs of the suit. Finally, the Court entered an injunction forbidding Swiss Watch International from further sale of the infringing watch products.
François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet, commented, “The Royal Oak was the first of its kind. 40 years later, it remains unmatched amongst prestige sport watches. This is only the beginning of an authentic icon that is making an indelible imprint on the history of modern watchmaking. Thus, we are fully committed to enforcing our rights in the Royal Oak design and insist our trademarks be fully respected. We owe it to Audemars Piguet, and the founders’ families.”
Photo courtesy Audemars Piguet.