Apple Shells Out $21Mn To License Ripped-Off Clock Design

Apple has paid the Swiss Federal Railways service $21 million to license the clock design Apple is said to have ripped off in iOS 6.

The controversy and subsequent licensing by Apple stems from a complaint the Swiss Federal Railways service (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen or SBB) fired off in September.

The SBB Argued then that Apple copied its iconic clock design – a clock face which can be seen in Swiss train stations since 1944 – without permission for the iOS 6 mobile operating system.

According to a report from the Agence France-Presse, Swiss publication Tages-Anzeiger reported on Saturday that Apple paid 20 million Swiss Francs (US $21 million or 17 million Euros) as a lump sum payment to compensate the SBB for their design.

Furthermore, the lump sum payment ensures that Apple can continue using the clock face in its products, the Swiss publication says, basing on information given by unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

When contacted by the AFP, the SBB said that they are looking forward to discussing why the iPhone-maker began to use the clock face for iOS 6 without seeking permission from the Swiss government agency.

“She said at the time that SBB was more interested in bringing clarity to where and how Apple could use the logo than in raking in cash,” the AFP reports.

Below follow pictures of the iOS 6 clock and the SBB clock face.

Apple, Clock, Swiss Federal Railways

Apple, Clock, Swiss Federal Railways

Back in September, SBB spokesman Reto Kormann was quoted as saying that the SBB is “proud that this icon of clock design is being used by a globally successful company.”

Kormann said then that the clock face used in the iOS 6 mobile operating system is “identical” to the train operator’s clock face.

The Associated Press reported back then that the SBB is seeking an “amicable agreement” with Apple regarding the ripped-off clock face.

The instantly-recognizable design was made by former SBB employee Hans Hilfiker. The design is currently under license to Swiss timepiece-maker Mondaine.

SBB said in September that the design signifies the timeliness of the Swiss people.

The SBB has the legal ground to complain against Apple as the design is actually registered to them at the Swiss registry.

Apple has been very consistent in complaining against companies they deem to have copied their designs and technologies.

Just recently, Apple won a massive case against Samsung in San Jose, California with the jury awarding the Cupertino, California-based Apple over $1 billion in damages.

Apple has asked the court for even more damages (up to over $3 billion) for the case which involves the design for the iPhone, the iOS mobile OS and the iPad.

Apple and the SBB are yet to release statements about the clock design controversy.


Images 1 & 2 from Best iPad Apps & JuergenG on Wikimedia.

Author: Solon Harmony Dolor

A passion for technology and journalism makes this upcoming writer very interested in social media and technology news. Fresh from finishing an English and Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman, he aims to bring interesting news to our readers . Don't forget to subscribe and receive our latest posts in your inbox.

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