Swatch: We Stole 'One More Thing' from Columbo, not Apple

It wasn't Apple Swatch was copying when it trademarked "one more thing," it was the TV series Columbo, or so says the watchmaker. Swatch has been openly critical of Apple's smartwatch efforts and trademarking the line Steve Jobs famously used in several presentations to show off surprises was presumed to be some sort of snub.

There's just one more thing, according to ColumboThere's just one more thing, according to Columbo

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs occasionally said "one more thing" before unveiling surprise product announcements at media events, and it turned into a catch phrase people expected to hear at every Apple event. Current CEO Tim Cook has used the line, too, when announcing new products.

The Columbo reference Swatch made ties back to the 1970s NBC TV series about a brilliant yet understated police detective who would catch suspects off guard by saying, "There's one more thing" at the end of interviews. He used the tactic to let his suspects know he had critical pieces of evidence tying them to the homicide he was investigating.

A Swatch representative told TechCrunch that the company routinely files for trademarks on watch names and watch collections. "In the current collection, you can find names like 'Moitié-Moitié' or 'Centrino', which were inspired by culinary specialties (the very famous Swiss cheese fondue), or by Technics. Others are inspired by movies," the representative said. "In this case, the name was inspired by inspector Columbo's citation 'Just one more thing' – obviously our design team plans to launch a collection inspired by the 'Film Noir'."

Not only did Swatch's spokesperson shoot down the notion that they wanted to keep Apple from using "one more thing" in Europe, but they also spilled the beans on an unannounced watch line.

Despite the denial, Swatch's timing does feel at least a little suspect. Swatch CEO Nick Hayek has bagged on Apple Watch more than once, and the company pushed to keep Apple from using the term "iWatch" before the company's smartwatch was announced. Word of Swatch's new trademark in Switzerland also hit about the same time Mr. Hayek was quoted saying Apple Watch is an "interesting toy."

Swatch is currently working on smart-ish watches instead of full-on smartwatches like Apple and several Android device makers are building. Swatch's plans lean more towards fitness tracking watches that aren't do-it-all devices with Internet connectivity, and offer longer battery life than products from competitors.

For Apple, Swatch's trademark doesn't change what it can or can't say. Product announcement events happen in the United States where Swatch's trademark isn't going to be enforced and it CEO Tim Cook wants to drop the line along with a surprise announcement there isn't anyone to stop him—not even NBC.