Apple files for iWatch trademark in Japan

A patent application uncovered by the Wall Street Journal is fuelling speculation that the company is about to launch a smartwatch.

The filing, applied for on June 3 and made public on June 27, is the second that Apple is known to have made in the last month. Several weeks ago, Izvestia reported that Apple had applied for the same trademark in Russia, but a search of trademark databases shows that the company has not attempted to register the name in the rest of Europe or in the US.

According to the EC trademark database, an Italian company, called Probendi, owns the iWatch trademark in the EU and has done so since 2008.

The discovery of the Japan patent filing has helped to fuel speculation that the launch of an Apple-branded wearable computer is all but imminent. Google was once again linked to a smartwatch launch later this year while brands from Acer to Intel have confirmed on the record that they are about to launch or are in the process of launching their own wearable (likely wrist-mounted) technological devices before the end of the year.