Swiss Court Sides with Swatch Over 'Tick Different' Watch (Imagine That)


In a decision in Swiss court that can’t be surprising, Swatch prevailed over Apple in a long-running dispute over Swatch’s “Tick Different” watches. The watches are no doubt a direct reference to Apple’s Think Different ad campaigns from the 1990s and 2000s. The Swiss Federal Administrative Court said Apple’s slogan was not well enough known in Switzerland to warrant protection.

The complain was originally filed by Apple in 2017, but Swatch responded that the campaign referenced an 80s Swatch campaign that used the phrase “always different, always new.”

Ironically, Apple’s Think Different campaign, first introduced in 1997, was a play on IBM’s slogan at the time, “Think.” Swatch and Apple have been frenemies for awhile now: they were rumored to be joining together on a smartwatch, but Apple eventually released its own Apple Watch (by the way, this is kind of how the iPhone cam to be: Apple initially tested the market with OEM partners, but eventually decided to go it alone). Swatch filed an application for an "iSwatch" trademark when rumors first began swirling that Apple planned to enter the market. It later managed to block Apple's own U.K. trademark application for "iWatch". 

The Tick Different watch had NFC payment technology from Visa, which was supposed to let you pay with a tap of the watch. Now, Apple Pay allows Apple Watch owners to do the same thing, but there’s still only about five people that use the feature.

This isn’t the first watch v. tech row we’ve seen recently: just last month, Swatch sued Samsung over a bunch of smartwatch faces that take dial designs from the Swatch group’s brands. The two types of companies clearly view each other as rivals in the watches and wearables space.

Reuters first reported the court ruling.