U.S. Federal Judge’s ruling sets precedent for the entire upcycling industry. Fort Collins, CO (September 14, 2020)
Vortic Watch Company announces victory in a trademark case filed against the company by Hamilton Watch International, a Swatch Group brand. In a decision made by the U.S. Federal Court on September 11, 2020, the judge ruled in favor of Vortic on all counts. After a five-year battle, Federal Judge Alison Nathan determined Vortic has the right to salvage and restore antique pocket watches and turn them into wristwatches, including those that bear the Hamilton trademark.
“I always knew what we did was not wrong and did not violate trademark law. What we do celebrates and preserves these wonderful antique watches,” says R.T. Custer, co-founder of Vortic. “I’m so thankful the U.S. justice system validated that and protected our American Dream.”
The Swatch Group, a Swiss conglomerate which oversees the once-American Hamilton brand, accused Vortic of trademark infringement and counterfeiting in 2015. The case finally culminated in February 2020 with a bench trial in the Southern District of New York.
“We’re happy with the precedent that’s been set in this historic case,” says Vortic’s attorney, Robert Lantz. “We demonstrated that the business model of upcycling antique pocket watches into wristwatches is fair and legal. Moreover, the Court’s ruling protects thousands of American small businesses that preserve history, and enhance or find new uses for antique products.”
Vortic successfully presented its efforts to avoid any consumer confusion in advertisements by describing its watches as works of art – “a museum on the wrist.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of both my team and the Justice System.” says Custer. “We won one for the little guys today. This was truly a David vs. Goliath case.” To learn more about Vortic Watch Company, please visit www.vorticwatches.com.