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Apple Watch's Swiss debut delayed by patent snag

The patent may hold up the launch until December, when it expires, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS.

The Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000 and goes as high as $17,000. CNET

Apple may have to wait a little longer before it can go toe-to-toe with the luxury watchmakers in their home country.

The launch of Apple Watch could be delayed in Switzerland, known as the birthplace of luxury watches, due to a patent owned by watch brand Leonard, which bars the tech titan from using the image of an apple or the word "apple" within the country, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS. Reuters earlier picked up on the report.

Any delay would be temporary; the patent is set to expire December 5.

All eyes are on the Apple Watch, which makes up the company's first new product category since the iPad and the first under CEO Tim Cook. The Apple Watch will be on display and available for fittings starting April 10, and it hits the market in many countries on April 24.

The Swiss watchmakers will likely be closely monitoring Apple's smartwatch as a potential new competitor. The company will be hitting the luxury market for the first time with models that cost as much as $17,000.

Apple declined to comment on legal matters. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property couldn't immediately be reached for comment.