THE founder of an Irish company that trademarked the term 'iWatch' has refused to say if Apple has approached him seeking to buy the name.
The California-based tech giant, famous for its iPhone and iPads, launched its new smartwatch product last month.
However, it's to be called Apple Watch, due to the Irish company's ownership of the iWatch trademark.
Software firm Probendi - based in Athlone - registered the Europe-wide trademark for the name six years ago and it has been approached by manufacturers about the possibility of making its own smartwatch under the name iWatch.
Apple previously paid €50m to settle a trademark dispute in China over rights to use the name iPad.
Probendi's boss Daniele Di Salvo this morning refused to say if his company has been approached by Apple with an offer to buy the name iWatch.
"I cannot talk about this," he told RTE Radio.
He said the company registered the iWatch trademark for a software product for the health and safety departments of petrochemical companies and is also used by authorities in Italy and South America.
Mr Di Salvo said that the Watch element of the name was a "verb", and not supposed to refer to a time-keeping device.
However, he confirmed that his company has been approached by manufacturers about making a watch using the name.
"We have been contacted by some very important manufacturers in China about the possibility of manufacturing a smartwatch and selling them with the name iWatch.
"Discussions are still ongoing. We are good at software but hardware is definitely not our business but we are evaluating this request," Mr Di Salvo said.
Chief executive Tim Cook launched the slick new Apple Watch with great fanfare last month along with the iPhone 6 and it is due to go on sale new year. U2 was on hand at the same event to announced that their new album was being released free on iTunes.