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The Apple Watch May Already Have a Knockoff

Now, how long before Pebble Watch has a lawsuit on its smartwatch-bearing hands?
Photo: Pebble Time

Photo: Pebble Time

In fashion, designers are constantly inspiring one another -- and the high street, too. But where does inspiration end and intellectual property infringement (i.e. copying) begin? That's something we're exploring in our long-running series, "Adventures in Copyright."

Spoiler alert: The watch above is not an Apple Watch

It's a Pebble Time, the smartwatch introduced by Pebble Technology on Kickstarter, where it has raised nearly $14 million. I don't know a lot about #tech, except for my one brush with #wearables during fashion week, but to my uneducated eye they appear almost exactly the same. 

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These are Apple Watches. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

These are Apple Watches. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In particular, the Pebble Time Steel with a leather band (top photo) is almost identical to the Apple Watch of the same color (above, far right). There are key differences in performance and capabilities, outlined by Tech Radar if you're interested, but it's the appearance that really gets us. 

It can be hard to nail down a fashion copyright infringement, as design originality tends to be nebulous and it's not always worth it for a brand to go after a product that will only be in stores for a few months. But tech companies, including Apple, are much more accustomed to protecting their trademarks and patents: Just look at the globe-spanning litigations between the tech giant and its rival Samsung over smartphone design.

Of course, neither will charge your devices through masturbation, so who is the real winner here?