Patents and intellectual property are key factors in the Watchmaking business, and Omega has targeted their sights on competitor Seagull. Omega filed a complaint with the event’s organizing committee after Seagull used a signboard including the term “Co-Axial”. Omega owns trademarks on “Omega Co-Axial” and “Co-Axial 3”. Seagull immediately removed the signs and kept them down for the duration of the show despite the committee determining that the sign was not in violation of Omega’s intellectual properties. While they won the case against Omega, Seagull has a long history of patent and IP troubles, and decided not to intensify the conflict with the rival manufacturer.
Although Intellectual Property claims are common at the Basel Fair in Switzerland, Omega’s move came on the second day of the show, which is unusual, as most complaints are brought to the committee’s attention during the second half of the show’s running. Last year, Seagull won an infringement counterclaim at the same show through the ownership of some key patents. By the end of 2011, Seagull has filed more than 400 patents safeguarding their techniques and processes. In addition to its presence as a significant patent holder, the Tianjin-based company has expanded its efforts for international expansion by hiring a Swiss design team.