Decoding Design

Did Apple steal the Swiss Federal Railways clock design?

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The rail company says it will happily accept a license agreement and compensation from Apple for using its clock design in the iOS 6 software.

The infringement tables are turning on Apple. Swiss Federal Railways has pointed out a striking likeness between the clock icon used in Apple's new iOS 6 mobile software (iPod touch, iPhone and iPad) and the clocks used in rail stations throughout the rail system.

Reto Kormann a rail company spokesman told the Associated Press that Swiss Federal Railways is "proud" that Apple picked up the clock design, but it did so without seeking permission. The railway has been using the clock for 68 years and it has become synonymous with the company. It has been reproduced into a popular wristwatch, as well.

The railway says it will happily agree to a license agreement and compensation. Apple hasn't said anything, declining to make an immediate comment to the AP and has not released a statement on the issue as this goes to press.

Apple has plenty on its plate, of course, fielding two million pre-orders for the iPhone 5. On the patent front, it won a $1.05-billion judgment against Samsung Electronics. Makes me wonder if Samsung tipped off the railroad and suggested it take a look at the clock.

Via: Detroit Free Press

Photos: (top) Courtesy of Swiss Federal Railways; iOS6 Clock by See-ming Lee

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Mary Catherine O'Connor

Contributing Writer

Mary Catherine O'Connor has written for Outside, Fast Company, Wired.com, Smithsonian.com, Entrepreneur, Earth2Tech.com, Earth Island Journal and The Magazine. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure