Switzerland’s state railway operator SBB claims that Apple Inc.’s iOS operating system used its trademark design for its clocks without its permission. The design in question shows a white clock face, black rectangles instead of numbers, black hour and minute hands, and a red second hand with a circle at one end.
Reto Kormann, a spokesperson for the Swiss rail company, said that the design was made back in 1944.
Instead of filing a lawsuit for trademark infringement, Kormann announced that SBB is willing to negotiate with Apple for the latter’s use of the clock design on the mobile operating system
SBB in the past had already entered into a licensing agreement with another company, Mondaine Watch Ltd. for the latter to use the iconic, minimalist design on its wristwatches.
Kormann clarifies, however, that money is not the main issue in the case. In fact, he says, “We are proud that this icon of clock design is being used by a globally successful company.” Moreover, the Swiss rail company is willing to have an “amicable agreement” with the Cupertino, California-based electronics company.
Technology and design enthusiasts pointed out that this is not the first time that Apple took inspiration from a Swiss design. They believe that some design elements of 1950s Braun products like pocket radios, speakers, and calculators, may be found on current Apple devices.
Apple, for its part, has recently been involved in a legal battle in several countries over patents with Samsung Electronics Company. Last month, Apple won against Samsung in a San Jose, California court when a jury found that the South Korean company infringed on several patents. The jury awarded Apple over a billion dollars in damages. Later, in a Tokyo, Japan court, a judge held that the South Korean company did not infringe on a music and video synching functionality. Most recently, Apple lost again in Germany when a court found that Samsung did not infringe on a touchscreen functionality.