Railway to Apple: You Stole Our Clock

Swiss Federal Railways spots its iconic design in iOS 6

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 21, 2012 5:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – Apple, about that cool iOS 6 clock design of yours—it's not exactly original. Or so says Swiss Federal Railways, which has used pretty much the same design for its iconic clock since 1944, the Daily Mail reports. The original clock face was made by celebrated designer Hans Hilfiker and licensed by the Swiss train company to Mondaine, a watchmaker that made the design available around the world.

"We've approached Apple and told them that the rights for this clock belong to us," says Reto Kormann, a spokesman for the train company, known as SBB. "We are proud that this icon of clock design is being used by a globally successful company." Kormann adds that the company would like an "amicable agreement" with Apple for a license fee. Several calls and emails to Apple's Swiss and German offices were left unanswered. Apple is no stranger to such conflicts, having just won a $1 billion verdict over Samsung and called for the ban of Samsung Galaxy sales in the US.

In this Sept. 29, 2005 file photo commuters walk under a Swiss railroad station clock at the Zurich main station.
In this Sept. 29, 2005 file photo commuters walk under a Swiss railroad station clock at the Zurich main station.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Gaetan Bally)
A clock symbol is displayed on an iPad with the new iOS 6 Friday, Sept.21, 2012 in Nauen, eastern Germany.
A clock symbol is displayed on an iPad with the new iOS 6 Friday, Sept.21, 2012 in Nauen, eastern Germany.   (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)
A clock symbol is displayed on an iPad with the new iOS 6 Friday, Sept.21, 2012 in Nauen, eastern Germany.
A clock symbol is displayed on an iPad with the new iOS 6 Friday, Sept.21, 2012 in Nauen, eastern Germany.   (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)
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