Watchmaker Hamilton defeats seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton


Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is not used to losing.

But a three year legal battle with the Swatch Group-brand Hamilton, aimed at preventing the group trademarking the name Hamilton in Europe, has been quashed.

An EU court threw out his case after concluding the driver had no natural right to protection of a name that Hamilton, the watchmaker, has been using since the 19th Century.


Hamilton was founded in 1892 when it opened its original factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where it was headquartered for 111 years.

Hamilton was purchased by Swatch Group in 1974 and transferred HQ and production to Biel in 2003.

In securing its European trademark, Hamilton International now has the exclusive rights to use the Hamilton name on accessories across the continent.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled: “The argument relating to the IP rights of the racing driver ‘Lewis Hamilton’ fails.

“The contested mark consists solely of one word ‘HAMILTON’, and not ‘LEWIS HAMILTON’. It is a rather common surname in English-speaking countries.

“There is no “natural right” for a person to have his or her own name registered as a trademark, when that would infringe third parties’ rights.”

(Top picture credit: Lewis Hamilton By Morio – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52060566)
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  1. I was my understanding that it wasn’t Lewis Hamilton personally, but rather a company that holds the intellectual property (IP) rights to the F1 champion’s name… Is that true? If so, somewhat misleading. That said, utterly absurd and frivolous. Perhaps Alexander Hamilton descendants should sue both Swatch and Lewis.—the hubris and greed are egregious irrespective. .


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