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Luxury watchmakers call time on pirate smartwatch faces

Pirated smartwatch faces are to be given the heave-ho by luxury watchmakers, with the likes of Fossil and Armani sending cease and desist letters to sites offering downloads of illegal copies.

In the last few months, smartwatches such as the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R have hit UK stores, offering sleek rounded designs compared with the usual blocky, square wearables that we’re used to. Of course, one of the major bonuses of those rounded digital screens is that you can download a ‘luxury’ watch face onto your new wrist device and make it look like you’re rocking thousands of pounds worth of Omega.

There are several sites across the ‘net which are offering free downloads of watch faces for smartwatches, which look identical to some of the most expensive real time pieces on the market. And unsuprisingly, this hasn’t gone down too well with a few of the major luxury watch brands.

Richemont, one of the main players in the billion dollar watch industry, has apparently been sending out orders for content to be taken offline within 24 hours, due to infringement of trademark. Omega, which is owned by Swatch, has also reportedly been busy targeting forums that offer Omega watch faces for download.

TorrentFreak, a site which covers all kinds of copyright and filesharing issues, got in touch with the person behind FaceRepo, a leading site for watch face designs, and they were understandably circumspect: “Although some of the replica faces we’ve received take downs for are very cool looking and represent significant artistic talent on the part of the designer, we believe that owners of copyrights or trademarks have the right to defend their brand. If a copyright or trademark owner contacts us, we will promptly remove infringing material. To date, all requests for removal of infringing material have been satisfied within a matter of hours.”

FaceRepo has taken its own pre-emptive action against its contributors, updating the sites terms and conditions to say “If these [brand names] are found in the face name, description or tags, this will cause the upload to be rejected with a message stating that sharing of copyrighted or trademarked material is prohibited.” Which is good news for the luxury brands, although other sites may not be so decent.

Naturally, as with any luxury brand, there is going to be a market for knock-offs, but we can’t help thinking a few cease and desist letters won’t be enough to achieve that which, so far, Hollywood and all of its might have been unable to do.

Check back next week when we test out the new Armané, Gucco and Omego watch faces on the G Watch R…


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