Apple can’t stop watchmaker Swatch from attempting to trademark Steve Jobs’ “One more thing” phrase, a judge in the UK has ruled.
Judge Ian Purvis on Monday said that Swatch’s attempt to register the phrase may have been an effort to “annoy” Apple, but ultimately decided that the Cupertino tech giant can’t stop Swatch from doing so.
Additionally, Judge Purvis added that a previous court decision that “Swatch’s intentions had stepped over the line between the appropriate and inappropriate use of a trade mark” was wrong.
The phrase, famously used by Jobs near the end of keynote events to cue a surprise announcement, probably originated with fictional TV detective Columbo, Judge Purvis said in his ruling.
The dustup over the three words is part of a broader dispute between Apple and Swatch that originated with the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015. At the time, Apple tried to trademark the term “iWatch” in the U.K. but was denied because it was too close to Swatch’s existing “iSwatch.”
Since then, the battle has extended to other phrases and trademarks. In 2019, for example, Apple lost a bid to stop Swatch from registering the phrase “Tick Different” — a nod to Apple’s “Think Different” Mac slogan.
Jobs’ successor, Apple CEO Tim Cook, revived the “One more thing” phrase in 2015 when he announced the Apple Watch.
When Swatch attempted to trademark the phrase, Apple’s lawyers argued that the move was “bad faith” and sought to parody Apple. On Monday, Judge Purvis said that Apple ultimately failed to come up with examples of concerning parodies.