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markmatters
Light, essential and fun trademark news from Knijff
Mar
7
2017
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Think similar

Think similarEarlier Swatch and Apple were sworn enemies after the public announcement of the Apple iWatch. Swatch had already registered the trademark iSwatch and eventually Apple chose another name. Nevertheless Apple applied for the iWatch trademark in some countries, probably just to see how strong the position of Swatch was.

Now it’s the other way around: Apple is not amused with the trademark Tick Different of Swatch, which resembles the slogan of Apple, Think Different. Apple filed various oppositions against the applications Tick Different by Swatch, for example 2 in the European Union as well as one in the Czech Republic.

This opposition in the Czech Republic has already led to a decision: the Czech trademark office ruled in an opposition that the trademarks were only moderately similar and the goods were not similar (Apple has registered the trademark in class 9 and Swatch for products in class 14).

Apple appeals and argues that the trademarks are similar. Think Different is grammatically incorrect: the correct sentence is Think Differently. This “error” is copied by Swatch. Moreover, the products, in view of the existence of smartwatches, are similar.

The Board of Appeal does not share this opinion. First of all, it finds the trademarks conceptually different as they have different meanings. The grammatical error is irrelevant, as the English language knowledge of the consumer is not so far-stretched that the consumer will understand this. Visually and aurally, the trademarks differ as well. Finally, the products are not similar: the purpose and use of the products is different. That watches can be “smart” and contain a lot of technology is not relevant according to the Board, at the end, these are watches and differ from the electronic products in Class 9. The conclusion is that confusion cannot occur and the appeal is dismissed. To be followed!