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Apple loses EU 'Think Different' legal challenge

think Different Apple Logo
think Different Apple Logo (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has lost the right to legally challenge an EU decision to revoke its ownership of the 'Think Different' word sign.
  • It had owned the phrase as an EU trademark, but in 2016 Swatch filed to have it removed, a request granted by the EU's intellectual property body.
  • Apple tried to challenge the decision, but this has been rejected.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has rejected Apple's bid to overturn a EUIPO decision to revoke its 'Think different' EU trademark.

Apple had previously owned the 'Think Different' word sign due to applications filed with the EU in 1997, 1998, and 2005. However, in 2016 Swiss watchmaker Swatch filed to have Apple's ownership of the phrase, Swatch used 'Tick Different' in its own marketing and was subject to a legal challenge by Apple, which the Cupertino company lost.

To rub salt into the wound, the EU's Court of Justice has now rejected Apple's appeals, filed in January 2021 against the decision to revoke its trademark.

The court ruled that Apple hadn't proven the court was wrong to revoke the trademark, and in a sly dig noted that the Board of Appeal said the "Think Different" slogan had "a rather weak distinctive character."

The court also noted that the advertising evidence submitted by Apple pertained to the use of the slogan more than 10 years before the period relevant to the case.

Apple used the slogan to advertise the company from 1997 to 2002.

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.