Apple fails to reclaim “Think Different” as EU court dismissed appeal over Swatch’s “Tick Different” slogan

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Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is an aspiring Journalist and Health law expert with a special focus on technology innovations. He is a guest writer at Qwenu and Deputy Editor-in-chief of Gamji Press.

It is reported today, that Apple’s appeal against Swatch’s “Tick Different” slogan was dismissed by the EU’s General Court, which said the concerns were based on a “misreading” of the judgment, and the company’s “Think Different” trademark remains canceled throughout the region.

Not long ago, Apple and Swatch have been embroiled in several court challenges, each claiming the other is infringing on their trademarks. Swatch’s “Tick Different” range, which Apple sued over in April 2017, was the longest-running one.

In 2019, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court determined that Apple’s “Think Different” tagline was not well-known enough in the territory. Apple was expected to show that “Think Different” was linked with the firm by at least 50% of Swiss people, but the court concluded that this had not been proven.

Subsequently, the controversy was then taken to the European Union’s Court of Justice, which disregarded Apple’s assertions that the initial judgment was erroneous. The court said in a summary of its judgment that “Apple’s position is based on a misunderstanding of the challenged decisions.”

When it comes to trademarks, the owner must show that the words or phrase is either distinctive in and of itself, or that it obtains distinctiveness by how it is adopted and known. The court agreed that Apple’s slogan was different, but insisted that this wasn’t enough to show that “Tick Different” would cause customers to be confused.

The decision was partly predicated on Apple’s failure to show that its trademark had been put to actual use for the goods in question for the five years before the lawsuit’s filing. Apple’s inputs on the phrase predate the relevant timeframe by more than ten years.

Accordingly, this is the latest in a long line of victories for Apple in its trademark battles with Swatch. Swatch’s triumph in the UK over its claim that “iWatch” was too similar to “watch” is one of them. Apple eventually dropped the iWatch brand in favor of the Apple Watch but claimed that Swatch had trademarked its name only as a deterrent to Apple.

Likewise, despite the phrase “one more thing” being linked with Steve Jobs, Swatch won a trademark dispute in 2015. The Jobs connection was disputed by Swatch. The phrase was picked because of its previous appearance in “Columbo,” according to the corporation. Follow TechGenyz for more latest tech news.

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