In context: What comes to mind when you hear the words, “One more thing”? Most readers of this site will associate it with Steve Jobs, a phrase he loved to use when announcing new products at the end of Apple events. But Cupertino has failed to stop watch-maker Swatch from trademarking the line in the UK.
Apple and Swatch have been at each other’s throats for years now. It started in 2015 when the Swiss firm prevented Apple from calling its wearable the iWatch. In 2017, Apple filed a lawsuit against Swatch for using a “Tick different” slogan to promote its NFC-enabled Bellamy watches, but a court in Switzerland ruled against Apple. Swatch claimed the saying came from a campaign it ran in the eighties that used the line “Always different, always new.”
Apple claims Swatch wanted to parody Apple when it attempted to register the “one more thing” phrase, its lawyers arguing that the move was in “bad faith.”
“I use the word ‘parody’ there to encompass the kind of trolling behavior, the malicious bad faith use of the mark,” Apple’s lawyer Jaani Riordan said.
London judge Ian Purvis gave Cupertino some bad news this week. He acknowledged that while Swatch’s attempts to register the line was likely a move to annoy Apple, the iPhone-maker can’t block its use. Purvis also said that Apple failed to come up with examples of concerning parodies.
The judge added that the phrase likely originated from the 70s TV detective Columbo, played by Peter Falk. Fans may remember the moment when the cigar-loving officer would appear to finish interviewing a suspect, only to turn around and ask, “just one more thing,” before catching them in a lie.