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Swiss Rail Company Accuses Apple of Clock Copying, Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

The world of copyright and licensing is one full of convoluted oddities. Apple‘s no stranger to this habitat, as they’ve happily shown in the past, but it’s unusual for the company to actually be on the defensive. They’re almost always the aggressor in such cases, but their recent clock app design upgrade in iOS 6 may have landed them in the hot seat with Switzerland’s national rail company.

See, SBB, that Swiss national rail company, are the originators of that particular clock design. They’ve used clocks that look exactly like Apple’s new app since before the tech giant even existed. The design itself goes back a grand total of 68 years, so it’s safe to say SBB had it first.

SBB even licensed it out to Mondaine, a Swiss watchmaker, and the watches made with the railway’s design have themselves become somewhat famous. It’s not like this was some unintentional faux pas; the specifics involved make it practically impossible for Apple to have coincidentally constructed this combined set of elements in their clock app. It’s far more feasible that they knowingly cribbed from the original.

If nothing else, at least this current firestorm might take some heat off Apple’s ridiculously terrible maps. Even Tim Cook could see the silver lining here, though it might end up costing them a hefty sum to settle any legal disputes over the clock design, because Apple’s maps are genuinely just awful. Like, they border on being dangerous.

(AP via The Verge, image via Wikipedia)

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