Steven Mather Solicitor in Leicester

One More Thing on trademarks – Swatch v Apple

The phrase “one more thing” has become almost synonymous with Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, used at its product launches since 1998.

And so when Swatch sought to register SWATCH ONE MORE THING and ONE MORE THING as a trademark, Apple objected.

The Trademark which Switch sought to register

They have history of course. There was a long running legal battle over iWatch vs iSwatch, so a scrap between the two was not unusual.

This case was an appeal to the High Court from the Intellectual Property Tribunal. Apple had successfully convinced the lower hearing officer to dismiss Swatch’s application for trademarks on the grounds that they were clearly registered in bad faith because they were going to be used to parody Apple and it’s brands.

To be clear, Apple didn’t have ONE MORE THING registered as a trademark it just said through use it’s connected to Apple.

On Appeal, Swatch successfully argued that there was no evidence that they were going to be used to parody Apple.

Purvis J accepted the Hearing Officer’s factual finding that Swatch’s applications had the objective of poking fun at Apple, but did not agree that it necessarily followed that there was a prima facie case that the use of the marks would be to use them parodically to undermine Apple’s business, nor was there any evidence to support this view. It would be reasonable to suppose that Swatch had not, at the date of the applications, given much thought to what they would do with the marks. This lack of intention would not of itself amount to bad faith, nor would a desire on Swatch’s part to annoy Apple. The marks themselves were not parodic or offensive, and the prospect that they might be put to parodic use which overstepped the mark was mere speculation.

Taking all this into account, it was not legitimate to conclude that Swatch’s intentions had stepped over the line between the appropriate and inappropriate use of a trade mark. The hearing officer was therefore wrong to uphold the opposition under section 3(6).

As a result, Swatch have now registered the trademark One More Thing which means technically Apple cannot use it anymore without Swatch’s permission.

I don’t think this ends here, as Apple will want to appeal further I guess.

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