Rumors that Apple may soon be launching a smart watch are gaining weight as a new report says the company has formed a shell corporation to register “iWatch” trademarks covertly.
The report comes from the French website Consomac and states that the shell company, Brightflash USA LLC, is registered to a corporate services company in Delaware that has been linked to previous trademark registration attempts by Apple.
Brightflash has already requested iWatch trademarks in the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, Denmark, and Australia. It has filed for a trademark in a number of smaller markets too, including Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, China, Cuba, India, Morocco, Serbia, Tunisia, among others, according to research from AppleInsider.
Both Brightflash and Apple use the same IP attorney in Ecuador, Alejandro Ponce Martinez of Quevedo & Ponce, which might suggest a link between the two companies. However, Apple has applied for iWatch trademarks under its own name too—in Japan, Taiwan, Russia, and Mexico.
According to Barrons, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, Christopher Caso, said in a recent research note that Apple could begin production of the iWatch with two screen sizes in the fourth quarter of this year. Though the iWatch could replace the iPod touch, Caso said he isn’t expecting a material impact to earnings from iWatch. He said that Apple is not likely to release a new iPod version in 2014, though it may not stop producing iPod touch devices right away.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the iPod is a declining business for the company, with sales dropping below $5 million in 2013.
If Apple is rushing to trademark “iWatch,” then perhaps the company will be ready to launch the product late this year. Though exact features remain unknown, it is believed the device will feature health sensors and integrate with an iOS 8 logging app called Healthbook.
If Apple is doing it, how many other big brands are registering trademarks through third parties?