Apple, SBB reach licensing agreement over use of iconic clock design

By on October 12, 2012, 4:30 PM

The Swiss Federal Railway service (SBB) has come to a licensing agreement with Apple that will allow them to continue to use the iconic Swiss clock design on iOS devices. Terms of the deal will reportedly remain confidential, according to an SBB spokesperson speaking with CNET on the matter. Apple has yet to publically comment on the agreement.

Apple was caught red-handed last month when it was discovered they had lifted the design of a clock face from the SBB. The design surfaced in the “Clock” application without proper licensing.

The SBB says the design was created in 1944 by Hans Hilfiker, a railroad employee at the time. The clock design has remained a staple in regional train stations for nearly 70 years and is even licensed for use by Swiss watch maker Mondaine.

The SBB said they were proud that the world’s largest tech company used their design but they didn’t ask permission to do so. Rather than sue Apple outright for copyright infringement, they reached out to Apple to try and come to an agreement on where the logo can be used, under what conditions and for how long before moving forward with legal action.

In a day and age where patent lawsuits are the norm, it’s refreshing to see that a couple of companies can work through a dispute without a judge and jury being involved. Perhaps other lawsuit-happy corporations can learn a thing or two from the SBB.




User Comments: 16

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Gareis Gareis said:

And here apple is sueing samsungs pants off for patent infringement....

Gareis Gareis said:

They must have been afraid that apple would somehow turn the court on them...

Guest said:

Not exactly same, Apple clock has no frame, Swiss clock 3D but Apple only 2D

Scshadow said:

"it?s refreshing to see that a couple of companies can work through a dispute without a judge and jury being involved."

Refreshing? Not even close. Pretty sure if they tried to sue they wouldn't win. Apple can just update and remove the clock design and then SSB would have to convince a court that damages occurred during infringement. Then Apple would hold a grudge and would find ammo to fire back. Its lucky they got what they got. Its actually the most puzzling why Apple was fine settling. Probably too busy frying bigger fish.

1 person liked this | davimous said:

Not exactly same, Apple clock has no frame, Swiss clock 3D but Apple only 2D

I started to write a response but I then realized you must be trolling to write something like that.

2 people like this | MonsterZero MonsterZero said:

it?s refreshing to see that a couple of companies can work through a dispute without a judge and jury being involved.

LOL, this sentence made me laugh, its Apple were talking about here....

Guest said:

=>davimous

What do you want to write? May contain traces of nuts? Or both them show 12:40:43?

I wrote the different, thats fact, I dont commented the licensing agreement. I dont know how possible patenting the red dot. I get many red dot in school. Without red dot, I saw 1000s of clock with this looking everywhere.

Guest said:

"I wrote the different, thats fact, I dont commented the licensing agreement. I dont know how possible patenting the red dot. I get many red dot in school. Without red dot, I saw 1000s of clock with this looking everywhere."

It's about the overall design. It's not about just the red dot but how the red dot goes with the other aspects of the design.

RajeGera RajeGera said:

The only reason why did that because apple is not their competitor in any ways,Had it been otheriwse then swiss would have sued them.Its just the nature of demand.

Guest said:

I bought some clocks like this from the dollar store... generic design....

Camikazi said:

I bought some clocks like this from the dollar store... generic design....

Yea I saw MP3 players that look just like iPods in a dollar store too, guess that is a generic design as well huh? Those small nameless manufacturers can get away with ripping off big companies cause no one knows who they are or they are in countries where the government doesn't care not because the designs are generic. A big, name brand company can't get away with the same thing cause they are easy to be found and will get caught (like Apple just did).

colinf said:

I bought some clocks like this from the dollar store... generic design....

your cheap knock off is more likely a copy of a Mondaine clock/watch...as I suspect Apple thought they were copying

Guest said:

It's about time Apple, one of the most litigious companies ever, got a taste of their own medicine.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Not exactly same, Apple clock has no frame, Swiss clock 3D but Apple only 2D

your way of thinking is naive.

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