A patent dispute involving the image of an apple and the written word "apple" will apparently delay the launch of the upcoming Apple Watch smartwatch in Switzerland until at least the end of 2015.
The controversy was reported by the Swiss television broadcasting company RTS, according to an April 4 story by Reuters. Apple "cannot use the image of an apple nor the word 'apple' to launch its watch within Switzerland, the home of luxury watches, because of a patent from 1985, RTS reported, citing a document from the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property," according to Reuters.
The document in question was published by trade magazine Business Montres & Joaillerie, according to the story. The patent runs until Dec. 5 of this year and belongs to William Longe, the story reported. Longe owns the watch brand Leonard, which first filed the patent in dispute.
The alleged Swiss patent dispute comes just as Apple is preparing to begin taking preorders in the United States for the Apple Watch starting at 3:01 a.m. EDT on April 10, according to a recent eWEEK story. The Apple Watch will be available to consumers starting on April 24.
While Apple announced the first preorder details several weeks ago, the company just unveiled additional preorder steps, including the ability to configure Apple Watch models, colors, bands and more in online Apple accounts so that customers can place their preorders more easily when the process begins.
Customers will be able to choose their new Apple Watch online as well as make a reservation to buy it and pick it up inside an Apple Store, the company announced.
As previously announced, customers will also be able to sign up for "try-on" appointments beginning April 10 inside an Apple Store so they can see some of the devices and some of their options.
Customers will not, however, be able to peruse a Watch on the spot in a store once the watches go on sale on April 24 unless they have a reservation first, according to reports. Customers will be able to order a Watch in-store and have it shipped to their homes, the reports said.
Late in March, Apple announced some fairly rigid marketing steps for customers who want to review and buy an Apple Watch, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
Apple plans on having an assortment of some 18 combinations of watches and watchbands on display in each store, but customers won't have the opportunity to try combinations of watches and bands that are not on display, according to earlier reports.
Apple is also planning on setting up special tables and displays where customers can examine the new watches. Speed will be important as customers peruse the gadgets because the appointments are scheduled for only to five to 15 minutes each.
Standard Apple Watches will start at $549 for a 38mm-wide version or $599 for a 42mm-wide model. Prices for the 38mm version can rise up to $1,049, while prices for the 42mm model can rise up to $1,099, depending on the watchband selected. The regular Apple Watch can be purchased with a fluoroelastomer band or one of three different leather bands.
The Apple Watch Sport version, which will start at $349, is available with a silver or space gray aluminum body and with wristbands in many colors.
The company's luxury versions of the Apple Watch, called the Apple Watch Edition, with a price tag of $10,000, will only be shown to customers through private appointments, while lines for that option could be up to one hour long.
The most expensive version of the Apple Watch, the 18-karat gold Edition version, is priced at $17,000 and will not even be available in Apple stores. Instead, these will be sold through select luxury retailers. Customers buying those expensive Apple Watches will have more personalized services, including an eight-step process that can take as long as an hour to help them better understand the included features while experiencing the watches as a "unique style choice."
The first Apple Watches will be sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom, with sales in more nations expected in the future.