Swiss rail claims Apple copied its iconic clocks (Update)

September 21, 2012
A clock symbol is displayed on an iPad with the new iOS 6 Friday, Sept.21, 2012 in Nauen, eastern Germany. Switzerland's national rail company is accusing Apple Inc. of stealing the iconic look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used by iPhone and iPad mobile devices. Both designs have a round clock face with black indicators except for the second hand which is red. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)

Switzerland's national rail company accused Apple Inc. on Friday of stealing the iconic look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used by iPhone and iPad mobile devices.

Both designs have a round clock face with black indicators except for the second hand, which is red.

A spokesman for the Swiss Federal Railways, or SBB, said the Apple design was "identical" to the one pioneered by the rail company in 1944.

"We are proud that this icon of clock design is being used by a globally successful company," Reto Kormann told The Associated Press, but he noted that Apple hadn't asked for permission before doing so.

In this Sept. 21, 2005 file photo, an employee at Mobatime Swiss Inc. finishes a Swiss railway station clock at their factory in Sumiswald, Switzerland. Switzerland's national rail company is accusing Apple Inc. of stealing the iconic look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used on iPad mobile devices. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martin Ruetschi, File)

"We've approached Apple and told them that the rights for this clock belong to us," he said.

Kormann said SBB would seek an "amicable agreement" with Apple that could see the clock design used in return for a license fee.

A clock symbol is displayed on an iPad with the new iOS 6 Friday, Sept.21, 2012 in Nauen, eastern Germany. Switzerland's national rail company is accusing Apple Inc. of stealing the iconic look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used by iPhone and iPad mobile devices. Both designs have a round clock face with black indicators except for the second hand which is red. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)

Apple's public relations offices in Germany and Switzerland didn't respond to repeated calls and emails requesting comment.

The Cupertino, California-based company has itself launched several patent and design rights claims against rival companies in the past.

Last month it won a $1.05 billion judgment against Samsung Electronics in a U.S. patent case.

The new iPhone 5 was launched Friday in eight countries.

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4 comments

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eHofmann
5 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
... oh, shock and horror ... it seems, Apples divine design concepts have their roots in the real world ... and, if they hurry, Apple might just get a patent secured on this ...
packrat
3.4 / 5 (7) Sep 21, 2012
I find it rather typical of them to be caught ripping off someone else's "look and feel" of a device when they sue others constantly over the same thing. As far as I can tell they have operated that way since the Apple2 hit the market.
defactoseven
2 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2012
Apple has it's feet firmly planted in the illogical, ambiguous world of fantasy ownership. As long as people continue to buy this religion, they will continue to bask in it's mythological splendour, until they find it's just as much a lie as any other. I'm happy to be faithless and free.
TransmissionDump
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2012
Goodness me Apple.
That's a tad unethical and hypocritical of you right after flogging someone else for the same thing you now perpetrate. It just re-inforces why I'm Apple averse and will never buy one of your products ever.

Lots of Love
TD
xxoo

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