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Swatch shares plummet after drop in sales

Shares in Swatch plunged more than 11 percent on Friday after the Swiss watch group warned that sales had slumped and profit had plunged in the first half of the year.

Swatch shares plummet after drop in sales
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Although full publication of results is not expected until next week, the company said first half sales had fallen by 12 percent due to drops “in important markets like Hong Kong and partially Europe, especially France and Switzerland…”
   
Two terror attacks in Paris last year have hit tourism to the French capital and its luxury shops hard. At least 84 people were killed in a terror attack in the southern city of Nice that targeted Bastille Day celebrations late on Thursday.
   
In addition to its bright mass market Swatch watches, the group also owns the luxury Omega brand and up-market Tissot.
   
The company said that operating and net profit “are expected to be lower of some 50 percent to 60 percent”.
   
Swatch earned an operating profit of 761 million Swiss francs ($777 million, 698 million euros at current rates) in the first half of last year on sales of 4.25 billion.
   
In late morning trading Swatch shares were down 11.4 percent as Zurich's SMI index was down nearly 0.6 percent overall.

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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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