He’s arguably the best F1 driver of all time and he’s soon to be Sir Lewis Hamilton, but surely even he can’t have his way all the time. The Mercedes F1 driver has lost a three-year legal battle with the Hamilton Watch Company over the Hamilton trademark on watches in Europe.
Now, if you know your watches, you’d know Hamilton, a brand that has been making and selling watches before Lewis was born. Founded in 1892, Hamilton predates Lewis’ father Anthony by many decades.
An American brand that is now part of the giant Swatch Group, Hamilton is most famous for its Khaki field watches. For those not into watches, Elvis Presley wore Hamilton, and the ana-digi watch you saw in the movie Tenet this year is by them. In short, they’re legit and have been so for a long time.
So here’s what it’s all about. According to the Daily Mail, Lewis Hamilton’s company 44IP claimed that the watch brand’s trademark had been filed in “bad faith”. 44IP attempted to trademark the name “Lewis Hamilton” for a range of products including smartwatches, jewellery and yes, watches. But the watchmaker Hamilton challenged the move, which is logical. LH then fought his corner.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has now ruled that the watch brand has the rights to continue doing what it has been doing for over a century. “The argument relating to the IP rights of the racing driver Lewis Hamilton fails. 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,” the continent’s IP authority said in a statement.
EUIPO rightly pointed out that the watchmaker has used the Hamilton name since 1892, and that this was “before the date of birth of ‘Lewis Hamilton’ as a natural person.” Straightforward enough, sorry Lewis, and long live the field watch!
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