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Apple loses ‘Think Different’ trademark in EU


The Court of Justice of the European Union has dismissed Apple’s bid to overturn a decision by the EUIPO to revoke its “Think Different” trademark in the European Union. The company used the phrase for its marketing campaigns from 1997 to 2002.

Apple launched its famous “Think Different” campaign in 1997 and then registered the phrase as a trademark within the EU. It registered again in 1998 and 2005. The registration included products like computers, computer terminals, keyboards, hardware, software, and multimedia products.

In 2016, Swiss watchmaker Swatch filed three European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) applications in hopes of revoking the trademark. The company did so as it uses the phrase “Tick Different” in its own marketing campaigns. Swatch’s claim is that Apple had not been using the “Think Different” phrase for five years.

In 2018, the Cancellation Division of the EUIPO revoked the contested marks from 2016. Apple’s appeals against the Cancellation Division’s decisions were dismissed by the Fourth Board of Appeal. Then in January of last year, the Cupertino company brought three actions before the General Court of the EU which were then dismissed today.

The Court notes that, contrary to what Apple claims, the Board of Appeal’s conclusion as to the distinctiveness of the contested marks is not contradicted by a body of evidence aimed at proving that they have been put to genuine use.

Overall, the Court believes “Think Different” hasn’t been put to genuine use in over 10 years before the case. Additionally, this isn’t Apple’s first row with Swatch as it had previously taken the trademark, “One more thing.”

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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