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.