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Swatch Group loses five-year-long trademark battle with Colorado watch firm

vortic

A small Colorado-based watch company has produced a true underdog story in defeating Swatch Group brand, Hamilton in a landmark case.

The five-year-long case saw Vortic Watch Company accused of trademark infringement and counterfeiting back in 2015.

It began after receiving a Cease & Desist from Hamilton International.

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After a long battle to prove their innocence, the high-end wristwatch engineering and manufacturing company based in Fort Collins secured the ruling from Federal Judge Allison Nathan in the Southern District of New York earlier this month.

The ruling stated: “The Court finds in favor of the Defendants on all claims. The Clerk of the Court is respectfully directed to enter judgment and close this case.”

Hamilton now forms part of a 20-brand Swatch Group portfolio but was originally located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania which is the central point of the case.

The Lancaster, a watch Vortic sold between 2014 and 2016 is named so for the aforementioned reason.

Court documents detail how the timepiece was made with a historic, restored “railroad-era” movement produced by the Hamilton Watch Co.

Looking into it more specifically, the Coloradoan detailed how the movements were internal mechanisms of the watch, with antique hands and face attached. Other parts of the wristwatch were produced and assembled by Vortic with the Hamilton name visible on the antique face of the watch.

The Vortic name is engraved around the ring in the rear of the watch, along with “The Lancaster” and a serial number.

The documents went on to confirm that in all, 58 watches were sold or gifted.

Hamilton then became aware of the watch and sent a cease and desist letter, followed by the lawsuit in 2015.

The court said that in order to be guilty of trademark infringement, Hamilton had to prove Vortic used without consent a reproduction, copy or imitation of the registered mark, as part of the sale or distribution of goods or services and that the use was likely to cause confusion.

It found that this was not the case, ruling a win for David and not Goliath on this occasion.

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas