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Apple Tries to Trademark 'iWatch' Name

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) is trying to trademark the name "iWatch" in Japan, a move that provides additional proof that a formal "smartwatch" announcement may be in the works.

Apple shares were rising 2.8% on the report to $407.93 at 11:06 a.m. in New York.

According to a Yahoo Japan story, Apple submitted the paperwork for the iWatch trademark on June 3rd. A few months earlier, Apple had filed an application for a U.S. patent to cover a watch-like device with a smartphone-like touchscreen. The device could be powered by kinetic energy such as movements of the wrist.

Apple reportedly also applied last month in Russia for an iWatch trademark.

In an interview back in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that a wearable computer might be the next, logical step for the company's product line. He noted that a user's wrist would probably be a natural location for such a device.

Apple is not the only company working on wearable computers. Google (GOOG - Get Report) Glass -- a computer built into an eyeglass frame -- is still in the experimental stage. Very early adopters have paid $1,500 to be among the first to wear and test the head-mounted computer, known as the Explorer Edition model. And yes, Google has already patented the entire "Project Glass" design.

Apple is not the only company applying for the Japanese trademark. Several other designers have also applied for the right to own the term "iWatch." A trademark official in Tokyo's patent office would only say that Apple's request must go through the proper channels before it could be approved.

There is one other possibility. Apple has also been rumored to be working on a smart TV set. iWatch could also be connected, in some way, to that project as well.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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