Apple slaps Swatch with lawsuit over ‘Tick different’ trademark

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Swatch Tick different
Sounds remarkably similar to "Think different."
Photo: Swatch

Apple is suing Swatch over the Swiss watchmaker’s “Tick different” trademark.

Apple claims the trademark is a play on the “Think different” slogan it used for an iconic ad campaign in the late 1990s. To win the legal battle, Cupertino must prove that at least 50 percent of consumers associate the phrase with Apple branding.

Swatch has been taking stabs at Apple since the latter first dipped its toes into the watch market.

Back in August 2015, just four months after the Apple Watch debuted, Swatch filed a trademark for “One more thing,” a phrase famously used by Steve Jobs at the end of Apple keynotes before he unveiled a big surprise.

Around two years ago, the Swiss company filed a trademark for “Tick different,” a seemingly obvious play on the “Think different” phrase Apple used for a famous ad campaign that ran from 1997 to 2002.

Developed by advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, the campaign featured black-and-white photos of famous visionaries, including Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Thomas Edison, Mahatma Gandhi, Jim Henson, Frank Sinatra and Ansel Adams.

The campaign also brought us the unforgettable “Crazy Ones” ad, below, which featured Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, Muhammad Ali and others.

Swatch has been slapping the “Tick different” slogan onto its Bellamy wristwatches, which have built-in NFC connectivity that allows for contactless Visa payments. The lineup went on sale in China in 2015, four months ahead of Apple Watch.

Swatch argues that “Tick different” was inspired by the “Always different, always new” slogan it used in the ’80s. But Apple, represented by Zurich law firm Lenz & Staehelin, believes the company is looking to capitalize on Apple’s marketing.

The lawsuit is being adjudicated by the Swiss Federal Administration Court, which says Apple must prove that at least 50 percent of consumers associate the “Think different” phrase with Apple branding, according to a Watson report.

  • Solublepeter

    “50% of customers associating the phrase with Apple” sounds like a high bar

  • Bruce Laubon

    I believe that Apple is barking up the wrong tree…I don’t associate, “Click different” with Apple, never have, never will. It just doesn’t sound like an Apple slogan, phrase, or saying. I think that there are so many companies that have gone over to the, “dark side” with litigation over the stupiest thing(s), and Apple is just one of the so many. I believe my favorite saying is, “All Things Apple”.