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Apple Licenses Swiss Railway Clock Design for iOS

By - Source: SBB | B 30 comments

Back in September, when Apple was busy celebrating the launch of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, it emerged that Apple had 'borrowed' the design of the clock app in iOS 6 from Swiss Federal Railway service. The iconic design from Hans Hilfiker is actually owned by the Swiss Federal Railways service and, as you can imagine, they were none too pleased that Apple had liberated their design for the iPad and iPhone.

At the time, a spokesperson for the SBB said that they were trying to get in touch with Apple to resolve the situation, and it seems all's well that ends well. The Swiss Federal Railways said today that an agreement had been reached and that the two parties had governed a license agreement.

"For the use of the SBB station clock on devices like iPad and iPhone, the Swiss Federal Railways SBB and Apple have agreed and signed a license agreement," the SBB said, adding that the two had agreed upon the price of the license fee.

The SBB called the clock a symbol of innovation and reliability and said it was an important identifying feature of the SBB and Switzerland. Neither the SBB nor Apple disclosed how much Cupertino is paying for the privilege of using the design or any other details regarding the terms of the agreement.

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  • 21 Hide
    Shin-san , October 14, 2012 1:07 PM
    I normally would have taken something like that as a compliment, but as patent-crazy tech companies are these days, especially Apple, I think it was good idea for the Swiss Federal Railways to make their move. Otherwise, the design might have ended up as a copyright of Apple
  • 20 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 14, 2012 1:12 PM
    Funny, if it was the other way round they would go "thermonuclear" (as Jobs put it) and try and get a worldwide sales ban, no amount of licensing or money would be enough
    ...
    But seeing as it is Apple, people always cave and take the money, someone needs to dig in theor heels and say "No, get your own f**king design"
  • 16 Hide
    jojesa , October 14, 2012 1:24 PM
    Apple could not come up with a clock design of their own! Wow! Mind-blowing!

Other Comments
    Display all 30 comments.
  • 21 Hide
    Shin-san , October 14, 2012 1:07 PM
    I normally would have taken something like that as a compliment, but as patent-crazy tech companies are these days, especially Apple, I think it was good idea for the Swiss Federal Railways to make their move. Otherwise, the design might have ended up as a copyright of Apple
  • 20 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 14, 2012 1:12 PM
    Funny, if it was the other way round they would go "thermonuclear" (as Jobs put it) and try and get a worldwide sales ban, no amount of licensing or money would be enough
    ...
    But seeing as it is Apple, people always cave and take the money, someone needs to dig in theor heels and say "No, get your own f**king design"
  • 16 Hide
    jojesa , October 14, 2012 1:24 PM
    Apple could not come up with a clock design of their own! Wow! Mind-blowing!

  • 6 Hide
    masterasia , October 14, 2012 2:29 PM
    "symbol of innovation" ....I found this funny some how.
  • 7 Hide
    maigo , October 14, 2012 2:50 PM
    The Swiss not suing
    Bro status: Confirmed
  • 3 Hide
    cookoy , October 14, 2012 3:21 PM
    apple has to make sure their maps for the swiss railway routes are absolutely correct or no deal
  • -2 Hide
    AndrewMD , October 14, 2012 3:35 PM
    jojesaApple could not come up with a clock design of their own! Wow! Mind-blowing!


    Ever heard of inspired art? Keeping with your logic, even if I was to take a picture of a well known landmark, you would consider it an infringement... Mostly likely the person in charged of the clock app liked the design and felt it was commonplace.

    However, Apple and SFR came to an agreement.
  • 2 Hide
    sacre , October 14, 2012 3:43 PM
    back_by_demandFunny, if it was the other way round they would go "thermonuclear" (as Jobs put it) and try and get a worldwide sales ban, no amount of licensing or money would be enough...But seeing as it is Apple, people always cave and take the money, someone needs to dig in theor heels and say "No, get your own f**king design"


    So you'd rather just have them accept their wrong doings and change their clock design then make hundreds of thousands to millions for simply using your design?

    Are you that screwed up?

    I'd sell, so as long as the design was still noted that it was made by me. Then I get my design spread across the world AND I make a lot of money.
  • 6 Hide
    CaedenV , October 14, 2012 4:12 PM
    for now they will licence the clock design, But you know that when they are on their last year of the contract they will replace the clock with one that they design themselves which will look beautiful, but will be 5 minutes behind every Thursday, and will choose a random time zone when outside of the US. There will be a fix for these time keeping problems, but it will only be available on an iOS update that is only available for their newest phone so that people will have to upgrade.

    It is the Apple way!
  • -7 Hide
    nebun , October 14, 2012 4:31 PM
    talk about greed....it's a simple design....just imagine if all the shoe companies were to sue each-other because all the shoes look the same
  • -7 Hide
    alidan , October 14, 2012 4:31 PM
    i stand by this.

    its a clock. i see nothing wrong with it at all, no mater how it looks.

    i dont like apple, but i think this is stupid.
  • 0 Hide
    acadia11 , October 14, 2012 4:43 PM
    Borrowed??? They stole it and didn't think it would get noticed.
  • 2 Hide
    TheCapulet , October 14, 2012 5:21 PM
    alidani stand by this. its a clock. i see nothing wrong with it at all, no mater how it looks. i dont like apple, but i think this is stupid.

    Nope, nothing wrong with blatantly stealing others work at all.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 14, 2012 5:28 PM
    Apple we take what we like and own everything else, the National Socialist party of the tech world
  • -2 Hide
    invlem , October 14, 2012 6:37 PM
    alidani stand by this. its a clock. i see nothing wrong with it at all, no mater how it looks. i dont like apple, but i think this is stupid.


    I don't know what people see as negative here, the end result is exactly what should have happened. There's taking prior work as inspiration and making your own, then there's direct copying of the design with absolutely no attempt to make it your own. Which is exactly what was done here, no attempt was made on the artists behalf to make the design different.

    ts a perfect replica of the original, so yes, "its a clock", how does phrase make it any different than "its an iPod"?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 14, 2012 7:45 PM
    apple continues it's great tradition of buying, copying or stealing. way to go... by the way, if they don't make the hardware, don't assemble anything themselves, copy designs, and only modify unix (iOS), what DO they make? their advertisments are great tho
  • 0 Hide
    house70 , October 14, 2012 8:46 PM
    Funnier thing is, Mondaine is exclusive licensee of the SBB clock. I don't know if this is the end of it.
  • 1 Hide
    wildkitten , October 14, 2012 9:29 PM
    house70Funnier thing is, Mondaine is exclusive licensee of the SBB clock. I don't know if this is the end of it.

    Of course what's interesting that I see no one pointing out is the fact that Apple didn't whine about this. I doubt seriously if Apple executives plotted to try to steal the Swiss Railway clock design. Likely what happened is the person who wrote the app saw a picture of the clock and used it.

    I'm no fan of Apple, but rather odd how they didn't start saying you can't patent a round design with some markings on it. Instead, they said "Yep, you're right, we screwed up and here's your money".

    You are right that it appears Mondaine is the exclusive licensee, however, that is a matter between SBB and Mondaine, not between Apple and Mondaine. SBB owns the design and if they licence it out in violation to an existing agreement with Mondaine, that is not Apple's fault.
  • -4 Hide
    bustapr , October 14, 2012 10:08 PM
    i still cant understand why governments let apple get away with stealing something first, then licensing/buying it off with their infinitely deep pockets. goes to show that in this world law means shit if you have enough money.
  • 2 Hide
    wildkitten , October 14, 2012 11:15 PM
    bustapri still cant understand why governments let apple get away with stealing something first, then licensing/buying it off with their infinitely deep pockets. goes to show that in this world law means shit if you have enough money.

    Because it's not a criminal case, it's a civil matter. If governments got involved in something like this it would be a much much worse situation.

    The Apple haters are as bad as the iSheep. Let's keep some objectivity here. SBB called Apple on it, Apple didn't make excuses, they acknowledged it, negotiated a settlement and paid. SBB, the owner of the design is pleased so why should we make something a criminal matter.

    Can't help but believe if Tom's had written this article with Samsung in place of Apple and Apple in place of SBB that these same people who used words like "stealing" and calling for government action would then be saying that something round with some stylish design couldn't be patented.
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