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Swiss Federal Railways Says Apple Copied Its Iconic Railway Clock

Switzerland's Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, or Swiss Federal Railway service, has accused Apple of using their iconic clock in its Clock app for iPad without permission, according to a report in the Swiss newspaper Blick [Google Translate].

Swissrailwayclock
Left: Apple's Clock app. Right: The iconic Swiss Railway clock. Courtesy Wikipedia

The clock, designed by Hans Hilfiker, has become an icon of both the Swiss railway and of Switzerland itself. The trademark and copyright for the clock is owned by the Swiss Federal Railways service.

According to the article:
SBB is the sole owner of the trademark and copyright of the railway clock. The railway company will now get in touch with Apple. The aim is a legal, as well as a financial solution. It is not right that one [Apple] simply copies the design.
The paper notes that Apple Switzerland declined to comment and directed reporters to Apple's corporate headquarters in the United States.

The clock's image is widely licensed, with the watchmaker Mondaine selling replicas around the world.

(Thanks for the translation, Dave!)

Update: In the interest of fairness, we have changed our links from Tages-Anzeiger to the Swiss daily Blick, which first reported the story. The translated quote remains one provided by a MacRumors reader from a paragraph in the Tages-Anzeiger story.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

21 months ago
You'll hear from hour lawyers!!!
Rating: 225 Positives
21 months ago
it's obviously different. all three hands are pointing in different directions. the railway clock reads 12:40, while the iPad clock reads 9:38. case closed.
Rating: 165 Positives
21 months ago
Looks like a copy to me.
Rating: 139 Positives
21 months ago
The Apple clock certainly is not as accurate as the Swiss clock.
Rating: 39 Positives
21 months ago
Ahh Snap! This has 2 billion dollar lawsuit written all over it! :rolleyes:
Rating: 36 Positives
21 months ago
What the heck happened to iOS6?

It's littered with cockups.
Rating: 27 Positives
21 months ago
hah, this time Apple is doomed! ;))
On the serious side: did Apple really thought that nobody will find out this 'original' design? Really?
Rating: 23 Positives
21 months ago
I think this is a case of "if you play with fire you might get burned". Apple like to bring out the legal hammer as often as possible and I'm glad they're getting a taste of their own medicine in this case as it's absolutely justified. I like Apple but if they play this litigious game this is what'll happen.
Rating: 20 Positives
21 months ago
Yup, Apple does reference many iconic designs with their hardware and software.

It would make sense to get the rights to do so first though :rolleyes:
Rating: 20 Positives
21 months ago
Those are way different. One clearly says the time 9:38 while the other one says the time is 12:40.
Rating: 17 Positives

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