back to article Apple wets its pants over Swatch ad tagline

Apple's lawyers have got their knickers in a twist over an ad campaign by outdated watch company Swatch. The hapless legal-beagles are unhappy about use of the phrase "Tick Different" on a new ad for Swatch's Bellamy range of watches, which include NFC (near-field communication) chips and work with Visa to let you pay for …

  1. apepper

    I thought Apple got "Think Different" from the IBM slogan "Think"

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      I thought Apple got "Think Different" from the IBM slogan "Think"

      Well, I guess it is different. Oh heck, there's those two standard English words used in the same sentence - send in the lawyers.

      I wonder if I can claim trade marks on a phrase I used 20 years ago that has no meaning beyond what I meant when I wrote it.

      Complete Muppets (tm), they should go and get a proper job rather than worrying about things that normal people don't care about

    2. kierenmccarthy

      Ummm....

      I believe you'll find that information is already in the story....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      one more thing

      And Steve Jobs got 'his' famous "one more thing" from Columbo.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: one more thing

        And Steve Jobs got 'his' famous "one more thing" from Columbo.

        I think it's just a crappy memory on Jobs part... Don't bring Columbo down to Jobs level...

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. DwarfPants
    Meh

    Its looking quite choppy in my tea cup today.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what lawyers do

    Lawyers will be lawyers. If it's not this, it'll be something equally as mundane. I have an iWatch. I use it everyday, but yeah, it's is not the end-all, drop everything, gotta get this product that iPod, or iPhone were. And what is? I have a Lenovo x220 instead of a shiny Powerbook, it was free and works great with Mint. I have lots of Swatch watchen as well. My original Swatch Jellyfish is worth more than the entry range iWatch. I think (oops!) it's funny these two well-known companies are fighting. They both make some intriguing products, and some crap ones too. My giant Swatch Maxi is a horrible product, overpriced and hard to maintain, but it's a giant green Swatch watch and tells pretty accurate time, so it's a keeper. It's too bad they have to spend money on lawyers instead of R&D making me some new crap to buy. Guess I'll have to get more DVDs, Swiss Army Knives, and LED flashlights until the fighting ceases in my sector. :(

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: This is what lawyers do

      "something equally as mundane" - no!

      "something equally mundane"

      FTFY

      Am I really the only person here who speaks English?

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: This is what lawyers do

        ¿Qué?

      2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: This is what lawyers do

        "Am I really the only person here who speaks English?"

        Wenn Sie damit sagen möchten, daß Muttersprachler in diesem Forum nicht zwangsläufig die Mehrheit der Teilnehmer ausmachen - durchaus möglich.

        (But cheer up - you are not alone, actually.)

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: This is what lawyers do

          > (But cheer up - you are not alone, actually.)

          Arrrgh, Roy Black, *gasp*... What's next, Heino?

      3. Daniel Hall

        Re: This is what lawyers do

        No, its all these pesky 'muricans.

        I find it hard to read some of the articles written in American English, the sentences don't flow like they used to in English English.

        1. Jan 0 Silver badge

          Re: pesky 'muricans

          > I find it hard to read some of the articles written in American English, the sentences don't flow like they used to in English English.

          That's probably because "Americans" seem to be highly confused about prepositions. You know, those little `"joining words" like "to", "on" and "in". They appear to know when a preposition is needed in a sentence, but then choose one at random.

      4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: This is what lawyers do

        Am I really the only person here who speaks English?

        Stop being so prescriptive. "As" may be redundant here but it's the dominant word used in comparisons or similar adverbial phrases.

        And it looks like equally as has a a long history

      5. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: This is what lawyers do

        Am I really the only person here who speaks English?

        Bljatlh 'e' ylmev, tlhingan maH!

        But on a lighter note, this is an oldie, but worth a read for those of us who don't know how to Talk Foreign:

        http://www.zompist.com/phrases.html

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is what lawyers do @AC

      I have an iWatch. I use it everyday

      What do you use in the afternoons?

      I have lots of Swatch watchen as well

      Ah, I see.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: gotta get this product that iPod, or iPhone were

      Ironically both existing trademarks that Apple "bullied" to get, I think maybe Fujitsu and Cisco.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is what lawyers do

      Swatch Maxi? Is that for when you want to know if it's that time of month again?

  5. Grunchy

    SMART

    That's Swatch-Mercedes-Art. Utterly panned by Consumer Reports.

    Who did they score: they scored ETA, Blancpain, Omega, Rado, Longines, Hamilton, Mido, Certina, Tissot; and more besides. Those crumb bums!

    You cannot 'tick differenter' than Swatch Beat. However, they abandoned that stupid idea long time ago...

  6. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Trollface

    "one more thing"

    I always though that was Inspector Colombo’s traditional phrase when trolling the guilty party?

    What, you mean it might be useful today?

  7. TimShnaider

    Thank you for the morning laugh and Apple trolling.

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      "Apple trolling"

      There's no such thing. It's all true.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Dead Steve Jobs' marketing department"

    Does that even exist? is this just while he's in bardo? Are they working on Apple TV?

    1. nijam

      > "Dead Steve Jobs' marketing department"

      One less thing.

  9. Wensleydale Cheese
  10. jake Silver badge

    Daft thing is ...

    Watches are SO twentieth century. Who bothers wearing a watch these days? Nobody I know wears one ... no need, the time is blazoned all over damn near every consumer good made.

    1. Martin
      FAIL

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      Well, I do, for one.

      I don't want to dig my phone out of my pocket to tell the time - I just want to glance at my wrist, like I have done for the last sixty years. Drives me mad when I forget to put a watch on - it's astonishing how often during a day I look at the time.

      1. TDog

        Re: Daft thing is ... And I suspect thinking differently

        I was never a watch fan. I am merely approaching sixty. However once I got the hang of my kindle then I discovered that with simply 2 clicks (switch on, tap the top bit) it would amazingly tell me the time. But again, it was a tad tricky to carry around.

        And the stroke of genius - if I could simply bend it to fit around my wrist then I could have a machine that would not solely tell me the time; but also provide me with a limited number of books to read. (Even on the big ones they only fit in about 1800-2300 books). Wow.

        So, with a little help with a former and a heat gun I tried to mould the kindle to my right arm. This did not work. CHILDREN DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME. Five kindles later I accepted that bending the bloody things was impracticable. Cheap and shoddy goods. Surely they should be thermo-pliable.

        Such are the problems of the modern day innovator. Still, the waste products have been shortlisted for next years Turner Prize.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        "it's astonishing how often during a day I look at the time."

        My everyday watch broke :-( It's been a week now and I miss it. Despite the posters comment about clocks everywhere, it's surprising how often I need to know the time and there no damn clock anywhere in sight. And yes, it's a bloody pain getting a few 100 quids worth of very powerful computer chippery out just to carry out a function a £2 casio can do better and more conveniently. Quiet day tomorrow so I've set my smart phone up with a reminder to go buy a new watch. I'm not wearing my good and expensive ones for work!

        1. Wensleydale Cheese

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          "Despite the posters comment about clocks everywhere, it's surprising how often I need to know the time and there no damn clock anywhere in sight."

          I've had periods when l've managed quite nicely without a watch.

          Electronic displays at bus stops and bus/train ticket machines, and ATMs are a common source of time where I live, not forgetting electronic parking meters in many places.

    2. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      "Who bothers wearing a watch these days?"

      I do. I find it useful when I want to know the time without having to hunt for the nearest temperature billboard and then waiting for it to switch to the time.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        How am I going to time my runs without a watch? How am I going to know how long I've been out with my dogs, am I going to pull my phone out in the rain? How do I check how long I've been surfing, and whether it's time to check back in at the beach? How do I check barometric pressure changes when I'm snowboarding, to tell if a weather front is coming in (yes, my Suunto does that).

        Only urban couch potatoes can live without a watch.

        1. Steve the Cynic

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          "am I going to pull my phone out in the rain?"

          Depends on the phone, I guess. Some have IP67 ingress protection, which will keep rain out just fine.

          1. Wensleydale Cheese

            Re: Daft thing is ...

            "Depends on the phone, I guess. Some have IP67 ingress protection, which will keep rain out just fine."

            Is IP67 the next thing after IPv6?

            Is there a corollary that IPv6 is leaky?

          2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Re: Daft thing is ...

            Really _doesn't_ depend on whether some other phones are water resistant, given that mine is not, Steve.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      Watches are SO twentieth century.

      Sixteenth century. Get it right.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        Twentieth century. That's when they became as common as muck.

        All of you who feel a compelling need to know exactly what time it is, several tens or perhaps a couple hundred times per day, to the point of having anxiety attacks if your watch isn't instantly available ... WHY? What good does it do you? It's not like it's even interactive or anything ... One wonders what would happen if you lost access to TehIntraWebTubes for a day or three ...

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          All of you who feel a compelling need to know exactly what time it is

          None of us do so you can burn that straw man. Just because you don't use watches doesn't mean those who do are idiots.

          What it comes down to is simple usability: KISS or "Obvious always wins". When I do want to know time I want a simple, reliable and repeatable way of doing it. I have yet to come across a device for doing this that beats a watch, though I think that today maybe a pocket watch or nurse's watch might be better because I don't like a wrist watch when I'm typing or cycling.

          People used to tell the time via the local church clock (this is, I believe, one of the reasons why building ordinances often stipulate that they're kept visible) but the industrial revolution allowed the production of reliable time pieces for the masses. Should accurate time again be restricted to the elite?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          "All of you who feel a compelling need to know exactly what time it is, several tens or perhaps a couple hundred times per day"

          I don't. But I sometimes do need to know what time it is, particularly if I'm to meet SWMBO at a certain time.

          Unlike some, however, I don't feel a compelling need to carry a phone (it used to be more compelling when I'd had heart trouble) and certainly no need, compelling or otherwise, to carry a smart phone.

        3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          One wonders what would happen if you lost access to TehIntraWebTubes for a day or three ...

          It's called "a vacation". Doesn't happen often enough.

        4. Eddy Ito

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          All of you who feel a compelling need to know exactly what time it is, several tens or perhaps a couple hundred times per day, to the point of having anxiety attacks if your watch isn't instantly available ... WHY? What good does it do you? It's not like it's even interactive or anything

          I don't think many people are compelled to know exactly what time it is since, being an arbitrary social construct, time itself isn't exact. Notice the occasional addition of leap seconds every now and again. Further I don't know anyone who checks their watch or the time several tens or hundreds of times per day and that includes folks I know with OCD much less anxiety attacks if they don't have it.

          As to why people wear watches, it's very simple. It's nice to know if you're going to make it to a shop before they close or after they open in the morning. See that bit in my first sentance, it's a social construct and those of us who are sociable and not rude prefer to avoid keeping other people waiting because unlike many doctors we understand that other people have things to do. To be certain, politeness is fading with the kids burying their noses in their interactive and web connected touch screens. Politeness is almost as rare as someone using a directional properly when they drive an automobile.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Daft thing is ...

            "Notice the occasional addition of leap seconds every now and again."

            I think I'd go further with the construct of time in this context and suggest that since time zones are also a construct for convenience, then few people are ever actually using local time anyway. I say bring back the days when noon was when the sun was at the zenith and stuff those people in Shelbyville and their +3 minutes time zone!

    4. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      > blazoned all over damn near every consumer ... made

      Yes, even the ones with digital watches.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        Time is an illusion anyway.

        1. AIBailey

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so" - Douglas Adams

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          Every time jake makes the assertion that 'nobody wears a watch these days', he gets the same response. Yet he keeps making it. Why?!

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        "Yes, even the ones with digital watches."

        This ape-descended primitive lifeform thinks digital watches are a really neat idea :-)

    5. chivo243 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      Who wears a watch? mostly people showing off their wealth and toys... look at me, my watch cost a bezillion, aren't I cool? What I paid for my watch could feed a small village in a third world country for a year!

      Cool! At least I can tell them it's dinner time...

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        @ chivo243

        My watch is cheap and old, the battery I put in every 2 years or so probably worth more than the watch, which is an old Casio (waterproof & also serves as an alarm to wake me in the morning)

        Some people wear watches as a cash statement, but plenty of us do it because we like knowing the time easily (e.g. whilst underwater (waterproof), without having to get a phone out of pocket / shock horror might not even habitually carry a phone)

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          @tiggity because we like knowing the time easily (e.g. whilst underwater (waterproof), without having to get a phone out of pocket / shock horror might not even habitually carry a phone)

          Yes, I hate having to get my phone out of my pocket while I'm underwater.

      2. Jay 2

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        I have a very nice watch that wasn't cheap. It's steel/back and not particularly flashy looking (there are many cheaper watches which are quite similar). However unless there is specific talk about such watches (or my watch) I don't make a thing of it and very rarely mention its price.

        However the same can not be said for other people. For example last Friday I was out with a few people and one of them asked to see my watch (they knew what it was), so I showed them. Later on they then exclaimed to the others that I "...was showing off his flashy watch" which I most definitely was not.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Daft thing is ...

          @Jay 2

          You need to be more selective about who you socialise with.

          1. Jay 2

            Re: Daft thing is ...

            Funnily enough I'm not a great fan of that particular person (and their Jekyl/Hyde personality when alcohol is involved) and fortunately can usually pick and choose if I want to enter their social orbit or not. I think that's going to be less often from now on!

      3. Martin
        WTF?

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        @chivo243 - Who wears a watch? mostly people showing off their wealth and toys...

        Did you expect anything other than a barrage of downvotes for that?

        I'm a watch-wearer, who has worn the same (quite expensive) watch for the last twenty-two years. A 40th birthday present from my wife, since you ask. It's not a toy, and I don't show it off - no-one I know would care. But it would break my heart if I lost it.

        Have another downvote from me.

    6. nijam

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      I don't, never have done. Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly ... ah, must just pop out, back soon.

    7. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      I do, and I wear it on the side of my wrist so I can check it without tilting my wrist, moving my head or otherwise indicating that I'm finding what the boss says less than riveting. Also great when driving not to be taking qne hand off the wheel and rotating my head away from the road view. Yes our cars have clocks, but they are inaccurate and I don't need the aggravation of trying to figure out if the clock is telling me the time, the radio station or the last track the music-maker played.

      I can also check my sideways watch in a cinema without blinding everyone sitting behind me like the phonetards do.

    8. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      Count me in - much more convenient than the daftphone. And I spend quite a bit of time working outdoors.

      Oh, and a selfwinding mechanical does not need recharging.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        "Oh, and a selfwinding mechanical does not need recharging."

        Indeed, and today I'm wearing my Vostok Amphibia, 17 jewels automatic. I have a few mechanicals, it's great being able to choose one to wear, set it, wind it, and I'm done. I wanted to wear one of my old quartz watches recently, but the battery was dead, so I went to my watch toolkit, and the spares I had were that old they were dead,... so I put on a mechanical instead.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Compromise:

    Thick different.

  12. Herby

    Maybe...

    They will trade "the swiss" (probably different than "swatch") for the right to use second hands with circles in them. I believe that the Cupertino Fruit company got hit with that one for clock displays.

    One can conclude from actions like that that an paid, idle lawyer is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Live and learn. Oh, The Bard might have been right in Henry VI, pt 2.

  13. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    "gramatically incorrect phrase"

    'tis the Register, forsooth, where thinkly different knaves do with such smacking of chops pour such scorn 'pon such frutious ventures that all most righteous and perspicacious men couldst but call them what they are: butchers!

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: "gramatically incorrect phrase"

      Thou art a most lewd and courtellous boolyrook sirah, and if thou dost not give the good men of The Register their just due I shall clapaclaw thy mazzard and cry hob for your wounds.

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I'm still quite sceptical regarding AI that really delivers on the promise (what with it having been "just around the corner" for the last 50 years or so).

    Artificial Lawyers however seem to be a thing already. Amazing.

  15. akeane
    Facepalm

    Tick Different?

    I think I would want my Swiss made precision timing instrument to tick the same as the other ones...

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Tick Different?

      But some people don't...

      The clock in Lord Vetinari’s anteroom didn’t tick right. Sometimes the tick was just a fraction late, sometimes the tock was early. Occasionally, one or the other didn’t happen at all. This wasn’t really noticeable until you’d been in there for five minutes, by which time small but significant parts of the brain were going crazy.

      Sir Pterry got there first.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tick Different?

      There are different sorts of mechanical watch movements and their escapement rates vary. They do not all tick the same.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Tick Different?

        Indeed. Swatch's own Sistem51 movement confuses audio timegraphers with its plastic escapement.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Tick Different?

      I'd expect Swatch to win this.

      In related news, 'MacDonald's" have trademarked every word in the English language, with Mac prefixed. Well, actually only some of them.

      They seem to forget that the Mac in MacDonald, is the Cetlic "mac" meaning son of. It's as stupid as trying to own every word prefixed with "i", or it would be like if Ericsson added -sson to every word and trademarked it.

      Apple and MacDonalds illustrate the worst features of American corporate arrogance and cultural imperialism. They need to sell on merit and price, not bullying.

      Mac Wars

      Maybe The owners of the golden arches will sue Apple over MacOS.

      I'm reminded that Apple founders pinched their name and logo from Apple Corp, due to being Beatles fans. They agreed, when sued never to use Apple in conjunction with music, then later created iTunes. So they got sued again.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Tick Different?

        In related news, 'MacDonald's" have trademarked every word in the English language, with Mac prefixed.

        Why would McDonald's want to do that?

  16. johnarudkin.net

    Montydoodless

    This has to be a 'wind-up'. ;-)

  17. James 51
    Headmaster

    If I end my ticks to the left instead of to the right of the vertical stroke, will the trademark wars implode?

  18. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "And so last week the Cupertino idiot-tax operation..."

    "Apple initially said it would appeal the decision, but in the end decided to call its over-priced, iPhone-dependent tech failure of a smartwatch..."

    ..."[W]hich actually makes it a very nice alternative to the Apple Watch..."

    Aww diddums. What's the matter, mummy wouldn't buy you an Apple Watch for Christmas?

  19. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I do wish PR people would settle their differences by duel. The ancient martial art of Ecky Thump seems particularly appropriate for them.

  20. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    How about

    "Tock Different, Use Adverbs"?

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: How about

      So Hitler bumps into Goebbels and Goebbels says "How zey hangink?" and Hitler says "Terrible. I keep dreamink I'm a clock. I vake up each mornink mutterink tick tick tick" and Goebbles screams NEVER MIND! VE HAFF VAYS OF MAKINK YOU TOCK!"

      Sean Spicer should have opened with that one.

  21. Bucky 2

    Filing a lawsuit is essentially free for the plaintiff, and very, very expensive for the defendant. At least in the US.

    Apple files nuisance suits all the time. All they need is for the press to pick one of the suits up and report on it. If that happens, it's just like running the "Think Different" campaign all over again, but for free. It's the sweetest plum.

    The only possible downside would be if their customers avoided their products because of such sleazy tactics. But they haven't so far.

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