Swiss railway operator says Apple stole their clock design

By on September 21, 2012, 9:30 AM

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.




User Comments: 38

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Neojt said:

IN YOUR FACE APPLE!!

this is what copying is !! they fight for a rectangle patten but carbon copy other ppl!

btw I love the Braun article

he iPhone?s calculator app is a clear tribute to the 1977 Braun ET44

this is how you justify copying you just need to say its a tribute.. Samsung should use this for the Galaxy Tab lawsuit!! LOL

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Actually they will loose, why? Well this is Swiss Clock Type, there are hundreds upon hundreds of the same design Clocks. This clock design has been practiced many times over the century.

That said Apples also sues for BS reasons so I hope that the Rail Company wins. Taste ya' own medicine Fapple.

Alexmx said:

If the company were in a trolling mood, they would sue apple to the end, but who doesn't want easy money?

Apple most likely will pay the licensing fee.

I would go for xx USD per unit sold until now

RajeGera RajeGera said:

This is real shit...Clocks are damn identical in looks..

Ahmed90 Ahmed90 said:

Hahaha apple law suites gonna bite apple in the ass one day xD

1 person liked this | Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

See its okay for Apple to use inspiration from everyday items, and not get permission. But try to imitate an ******* product you get sued in to oblivion...

badboymoviestar badboymoviestar said:

Double standards are for the birds. You SUCK, Apple. More money than God, and you have to get on Samsung about rounded corners? Ridiculous. Then you pull this crap!

I just bought my LAST Apple product!

1 person liked this | ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

So much for Apple's unparalleled creativity. If all of their copying is this clear-cut, I'm sure we'll be seeing a major influx of patent lawsuits against Apple coming up. And I think I speak for everyone when I say not a tear will be shed if Apple lost every one of them.

2 people like this | Neojt said:

This is real shit...Clocks are damn identical in looks..

So are phone , rectangles, TV's, computers, ect but when you piss ppl off trying to gain cotrol of the shape of a phone THAT ALL LOOK THE SAME FOR YEARS. they set the path for this kind of lawsuit they cant expect nobody will follow on the same path

Guest said:

Apple innovate once again. Forget copying a copyright Swiss design, they've made the innovation of making a clock an extra app. MS will no doubt try to do this by removing the clock in the taskbar and forcing us to download a clock widget, and then get sued for copying Apple.

What a wonderful world.

I just saw the US patent office has surrended - they're going online and asking the public to do their job for them re prior art. What a joke they are.

The whole system is fcuked.

TJGeezer said:

Where are the lawyers from Braun? They need to sue, too. Clearly, Apple routinely steals all kinds of others' function-suggested designs. Terrible! Unconscionable! And so forth.

ha ha ha They're the ones who opened the Pandora's box of lawsuits over obvious functional designs. What, they thought other companies wouldn't join the party they started themselves?

Guest said:

Its a freaking clock! I can't believe what this place is coming to.

Blue Falcon said:

Guest above, the main point here has nothing to do with the clock itself per say. The main issue is Apple claims that they have invented certain technologies which they have never even invented in the first place, and everyone else copied them after supposedly.

What is Apple really? A Recipe Company:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFeC25BM9E0

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Apple, let me introduce you to Karma.

Guest said:

Cany anyone say "Apple Karma". No matter how much I may or may not like apple products, I feel that Apple deserves this and other lawsuits coming their way. They've reached a new low when they started so many frivolous lawsuits, especially against tiny companies that are trying to grow.

Guest said:

What goes around comes around

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Lol this is just comical.

Well, if apple is gonna make a big deal out this and that, I suppose its only fair for the other companies to do the same.

Guest said:

Should be digital clocks. What are those weird circle things anyways?

Guest said:

This is the fact of apple: they even can't design their own clock.. what a laughstock

BGD1968 BGD1968 said:

I hope the descendants of the caveman who invented rectangles are the next to come looking for payback.

negroplasty negroplasty said:

Then why is there a Y! (Yahoo) at the bottom right of the "Apple" clock???

1 person liked this | Camikazi said:

Then why is there a Y! (Yahoo) at the bottom right of the "Apple" clock???

Cause Apple doesn't wanna use Google anymore.

Camikazi said:

I hope the descendants of the caveman who invented rectangles are the next to come looking for payback.

I'm pretty sure that nature had rectangles before any caveman was around, it even had rounded rectangles.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Dunno about Switzerland, but doesn't a patent/copyright run out after so long? That's a really old clock design.

Zeromus said:

Litigation mode: Engaged.

Guest said:

By now Apple should have a sister companies iSuits, iCourts, iLitigation to tackle their courtroom troubles.

Guest said:

Apple=china design? :)

Camikazi said:

Dunno about Switzerland, but doesn't a patent/copyright run out after so long? That's a really old clock design.

It's a trademark and yes it runs out but the owner can just refile and keep control of it since trademarks tend to be important icons for the company (like the bitten Apple logo).

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

Oh come on, give Apple a break. If it was the other way around Apple wouldnt sue over something so trivial. They are angels.

avoidz avoidz said:

Apple have got some balls to take Samsung to task and pull a stunt like this.

Camikazi said:

Oh come on, give Apple a break. If it was the other way around Apple wouldnt sue over something so trivial. They are angels.

If I hadn't looked at your name I would have thought you were serious :P

Guest said:

The biggest copycat in the world!

Guest said:

How dare Apple copy the very same time as someone else! I've lost all faith in humanity and especially this website.

All of you who have taken a photo of ANYTHING better watch out. And make damn sure your watch is set for a different time!

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Apple's logo - a bite off an apple denotes embarking on the forbidden.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

In the Philippines it is call sottocopy, hehehe

copasetic copasetic said:

How dare Apple taking advantage of all the....wait...

***brrrzzap***

sorry...no...Apple good, Apple never steal anything...Apple invent everything, even if 10 years later, others only steal from Apple...Apple sue them for coming up with same clock idea before they did, because it was Apple's idea no matter when someone else come up with it...

....yes....

savssendi savssendi said:

Heheheheh, am laughing deep silently here!! Apple, Apple.... what comes around goes.... complete teh statement. We wont hear that case, since apple does not want to be-little herself, she will settle the the Swiss guys out of court!!! We wont hear anything after today!!!

veLa veLa said:

I hope the Swiss company takes like 4 billion in some huge lawsuit.

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