Does Apple really know what time it is?

When iOS 6 was released last month, astute railroad buffs and timepiece aficionados alike couldn’t help but notice the spartan yet elegant design of the clock app Apple was now featuring in its iPad. The clock interface, as the Gadgetmac blog pointed out, was a dead ringer for the award-winning design seen in railway stations throughout Switzerland.

Only one problem: apparently Apple had not received permission from Swiss railway operator SBB to use its trademark design.

It seemed a particularly egregious move for a company notorious for going after others who rip off its own copyrighted and patented designs, a fact not lost on Samsung, which recently got its own clock cleaned in federal court by Apple’s legal gunslingers.

After SBB threatened legal action against Apple, it now appears the two companies have patched things up.

“For the use of the clockface on certain Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, the parties have negotiated an arrangement that enables Apple to use the SBB station clock under a license agreement,’’ said SBB, which holds the trademark for the 1944 design by Zurich-born engineer Hans Hilfiker.

Details of the agreement were not disclosed.

But one party remains miffed. Mondaine Group, the company that has held the license since 1986 to make clocks and wristwatches for consumers based on the design classic, said it was not involved in the deal Apple made with SBB.

“As an exclusive licensee, we are surprised to hear about the licensing agreement between SBB and Apple,” Ronnie Bernheim, the company’s co-owner, told Reuters, but declined to say whether he would take any further action.

More legal action against Apple? A new agreement, perhaps?

Only time will tell.








Share this Post

  • At least they aren’t stealing something important like rounded corners. Now that would be serious.

  • mr_bill

    Apple copied Braun’s 1950’s and 1960’s products on several of Apple’s “revolutionary” designs. It seems that Apple isn’t really that original, just good at “borrowing” designs from others and convincing people to pay too much for them.

  • Amar

    Small issues which are not so much big, then to wanted to have APPLE highlighted forsmall issue….

    Its happening all because apple filed case against the samsung…so other companies targeting apple!

    • Mayank

      Yeah, Karma is a b!tc# that ways, ain’t it?
      So you sue others, and others sue you, that should be ok, right?
      I kinda agree with you there, if Apple would have let others be and just competed, they wouldn’t be sued either!!!
      After all, they had been copying for years and no one said anything, did they?

      • Darrow

        Your philosophy and Obamas’ is the same. He thinks if you walk down the street in a Taliban controlled village unarmed, they won’t hurt you. He can walk down that street if he wants to…ME, i’m gonna go armed to the teeth. I might end up dead but I’ll take a few of ’em with me.

        Darrow…for the Prosecution

  • Jason

    Yes, small issues like a REAL trademark violation, as opposed to what Apple considers a BIG issue: roused corners…