The Swiss government said on Thursday that it would consider creating a new law to make it easier to freeze the assets of foreign dictators.

"/> The Swiss government said on Thursday that it would consider creating a new law to make it easier to freeze the assets of foreign dictators.

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Government plans new asset-freezing law

The Swiss government said on Thursday that it would consider creating a new law to make it easier to freeze the assets of foreign dictators.

The foreign ministry has been charged with the task of drawing up the formal basis for a law that defines so-called “politically exposed persons” (PEPs) and the criteria for blocking their Swiss accounts.

Calls for the new law have come about because the government currently has to rely on the constitution, which gives the government the right to suspend normal regulations in the interests of another country.

Many lawyers believe this provides insufficient legal cover, because it fails to define the circumstances under which the emergency powers can be enacted.

Social Democrat MP Susanne Leutenegger-Oberholzer brought the motion for the new law, which she said would “guarantee the legal security that financial institutions need to be able to count on.”

The government has already frozen the Swiss assets of former Tunisian leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, whose regimes were overthrown in popular uprisings this spring.

Switzerland has also blocked the assets of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, his family and entourage.

bk/The Local

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LAW

Swiss watchmaker Swatch wins latest trademark battle with Apple

A top Swiss court on Thursday handed the watchmaker Swatch victory in a trademark dispute with US technology giant Apple – the latest in a series of legal disputes between the two firms.

Swiss watchmaker Swatch wins latest trademark battle with Apple
Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek with the Zero One wristwatch in 2014. File photo: AFP

In the current case, Apple had alleged the Swiss company’s ‘Tick different’ slogan was too similar to the US company’s ‘Think different’ slogan of the 1990s.

Apple originally filed an objection with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, but that organisation turned down the complaint.

Read also: How luxury watchmakers are gearing up for Brexit

The US company then took the case to the St-Gallen based Federal Administrative Court.

To have a chance of winning its case against Swatch, Apple had to prove that the famous slogan – the related TV commercial won an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial in 1998 – had more than 50 percent recognition in Switzerland.

However, the Federal Administrative Court ruled Apple had not provided sufficient evidence that this was the case and found in Swatch’s favour.

The evidence for awareness of the slogan in Switzerland consisted of just several articles on Apple in Swiss broadsheet NZZ.

This dispute was just the latest in a series of legal confrontations between the two companies.

In 2007, Swatch, which is headed up by charismatic businessman Nick Hayek, trademarked the term ‘iSwatch’ before Apple was able to register the term ‘iWatch. 

The Swiss watchmaker also trademarked the expression ‘One more thing’, which was made famous by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Apple has had other legal problems in Switzerland. In 2012, it reportedly paid 20 million Swiss francs (€17.8 million) to Swiss Federal Railways to avoid going to court over its use of the design of the Swiss railway clock in its i06 operating system.

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