Apple and Swiss Federal Railways to meet over clock design dispute

apple and swiss railway to meet over clock design dispute mondaineThe latest version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, rolled out to users last week, comes with more than 200 new features, the Cupertino company says.

It includes updates to Mail, Safari and Photos, as well as brand new features including Panorama, Passbook and Maps, though the less said about that, the better.

iPad users who’ve upgraded to iOS 6 will also have noticed a new clock app on their device. The new feature also caught the attention of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), who couldn’t help noticing how similar the app’s clock face looked to the iconic design of its own clock used at train stations across the country – a decades-old design that happens to be trademarked. In fact, “similar” is hardly an appropriate word here – it’s difficult to see any differences at all.

SBB evidently hadn’t been consulted about the design of Apple’s new time-telling app, and is seeking to resolve the issue with the tech giant.

“We enjoy the fact that the Swiss railway clock is being used by Apple,” SBB spokesperson Christian Ginsig said. “It once again proves that it’s a real piece of design. This act, however, is an unauthorized use [of the clock’s design] by Apple.”

Another SBB spokesperson, Patricia Claivaz, confirmed that a meeting has been requested with Apple’s legal team, though she dismissed reports that the state-owned train service was intent on securing a financial settlement, telling AFP that SBB did not want to “upset them by asking for money.”

She event went as far as to say that SBB was “proud” that its station clock face design – created by Swiss engineer Hans Hilfiker in 1944 – had been chosen “for 80 million iPads.”

Claivaz added, “There are a lot of brands that use the SBB logo, though nothing like Apple. It’s not just about exchanging money, rather drawing up a contract stating where the logo can be used, under what conditions and for how long.”

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of agreement or deal Apple makes with SBB, or whether they end up dumping the design for a completely different look. For its part, SBB seems pretty laid back about the affair, though one can’t help wondering if Apple would approach the matter in quite the same relaxed fashion if the situation was the other way around.

[Source: Cnet, Ars Technica] [Image: Apple/Mondaine]