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April 13, 2017

Apple sues Swatch for ‘Tick Different’ advert

Swatch said that the phrase has references to its own campaign from the 1980s.

By CBR Staff Writer

Technology giant Apple has lodged a complaint against Swiss watchmaker Swatch for using the phrase ‘Tick Different’ in one its marketing initiatives.

The slogan is being used by Swatch as part of its marketing campaign to sell a wristwatch having a contactless payment chip.

But the smartphone maker Apple said that the phrase has some similarities to its Think Different campaign, which was carried out during 1990s.

Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek was quoted by Swiss news site Watson as saying that the similarity was purely coincidental.

Hayek said that the slogan has references to one of the company’s own campaign from the 1980s: “Always different, always new”.

From 1997 to 2002, Apple carried the Think Different phrase in its advertisements, which was considered as a response to IBM’s Think ad campaign.

In 2015, Swatch received a trademark status for the phrase Tick Different in the US. The company also has the trademark for the slogan in Switzerland.

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In a complaint to the Swiss Federal Administrative Court, Apple’s lawyers Lenz & Staehelin said the tagline was regarded as “the core of the Apple brand” for many years.

According to legal experts, Apple must prove that Swatch’s phrase use makes at least 50% of consumers feel that it has some association with Apple products in order to win the case.

In September last year, Apple’s attempt to register ‘iWatch’ as a trademark in the UK was blocked by Swatch.

The Swiss watchmaker claimed that ‘iWatch’ was too similar to its own trademarks ‘iSwatch’ and ‘Swatch’.

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) agreed with Swatch, upholding its opposition which it filed in March 2014.

In March this year, Bloomberg reported that Swatch was developing a watch operating system which will power its Tissot brand watches by the end of 2018.

Hayek said that the company does not want to depend on Apple or Google for the operating system and would want to develop an alternative.

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