“Think Different.” It’s the iconic marketing slogan that helped catapult Apple into the sea of cash reserves it swims in today. Apple’s talent in marketing and branding is well known and well respected. So much so that some even try to pay homage and tribute to that marketing spirit with their own Apple-like campaigns, like Swatch. Swatch’s latest branding trick “Tick different” isn’t sitting well with Apple and Apple is taking them to court over it.
The Swiss watchmaker has taken to branding some of their watches with the slogan “Tick different” which some are considering a play on Apple’s long known mantra. Of course, Swatch isn’t admitting to this, thus Apple’s move to get the courts to stop Swatch from using the slogan. This sort of case can be tough to litigate though and Apple will have to prove that at least 50% of consumers associate the phrase “Think Different” with Apple.
Responding to Apple’s accusations, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek said any similarity between the two campaigns is coincidental. Hayek asserts “Tick different” has its roots in a Swatch campaign from the ’80s that carried the phrase “Always different, always new.”
Further confusing matters, Swatch applied for and was granted a U.S. trademark for “Tick different” some two years ago. With a priority date of July 16, 2015, the mark was officially published in October 2016. The USPTO recently granted an extension to the mark in January. Swatch holds the same trademark in Switzerland.
Apple and Swatch are direct competitors in the wearables and watch markets so while this seems like a silly lawsuit. It is important to both companies. The lawsuit is being handled in a Swiss Federal Administrative Court so it will be interesting to see how this turns out.
Last Updated on April 11, 2017.