Swiss railway operator says Apple stole their clock design

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Apple may soon find themselves in yet another courtroom battle if they aren’t able to resolve a dispute regarding their use of a new feature in iOS 6. Swiss railway operator SBB says Apple stole the look of their iconic station clocks designed by Hans Hilfiker for use in the updated operating system on the iPad.

The clockface is the same one used by watchmaker Mondaine but the key difference is they have a license to use the design. A spokesperson for SBB told the Associated Press they are proud that Cupertino opted to use their 68-year-old design but they hadn’t asked for permission to do so. The company plans to reach out to Apple in an effort to come to an agreement for compensation before taking any legal action.

When compared side-by-side, there’s no denying the two clockfaces are virtually identical. The Verge points out this isn’t the first time that Apple has borrowed heavily from other designs. Their iOS Calculator and Podcasts app are clearly influenced by products from Braun, namely the 1977 Braun ET44 and ET66 calculators and the Braun T 60 reel-to-reel tape recorder, respectively. And yes, we’re talking about the same Braun that produces shaving products today.

The problem lies in the fact that the clockface design in question is still being monetized by the Swiss railway company. If we had to guess, Apple will likely reach a licensing agreement to avoid a lawsuit and negative press that would come along with it.

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