The complaint was lodged last week at the Swiss Federal Administrative Court by Apple representatives Lenz & Staehelin, whose lawyers filed a simultaneous but ultimately unsuccessful complaint with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property.
Swatch has been using the "Tick Different" slogan on its Bellamy quartz wristwatch with built-in NFC Visa payment technology. According to Watson, in order to successfully win the case Apple must show that Swatch's use of the phrase triggers an association with Apple products in the minds of at least 50 percent of consumers.
Swatch CEO Nick Hayek has reportedly rejected the allegation that it is capitalizing on Apple branding. Hayek claimed that the "Tick Different" slogan has its origins in an 80s Swatch campaign that used the phrase "Always different, always new", and says that any similarity with Apple is purely coincidental.
The "Think Different" slogan was created in 1997 by Apple advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, and was thought at the time to be a response to IBM's slogan "Think". It was used in TV commercials, print ads, and several TV promos. Disappearance of the slogan in Apple marketing material coincided with the launch of the iMac G4 in 2002.
Prior to the launch of the Apple Watch, Apple and Swatch were rumored to be joining together to introduce a smartwatch, but nothing ever came of it. 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".