Swiss rail claims Apple copied its iconic clocks

Associated Press
This combination of two images shows on the left, in a Sept. 2005 file photo, at Swiss railroad station clock at the Zurich station; and on the right, a screen shot taken from an Apple iPad, displaying a clock symbol, which is part of  the new iOS 6 operating system, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 in New York. Switzerland's national rail company is accusing Apple Inc. of stealing the iconic look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used by iPad mobile devices. Both designs have a round clock face with black indicators except for the second hand which is red. The rail company is now seeking financial compensation. (AP Photo/Keystone, Gaetan Bally)
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BERLIN (AP) — Switzerland's national rail company accused Apple Inc. on Friday of stealing the iconic look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used by iPhone and iPad mobile devices.

Both designs have a round clock face with black indicators except for the second hand, which is red.

A spokesman for the Swiss Federal Railways, or SBB, said the Apple design was "identical" to the one pioneered by the rail company in 1944.

"We are proud that this icon of clock design is being used by a globally successful company," Reto Kormann told The Associated Press, but he noted that Apple hadn't asked for permission before doing so.

"We've approached Apple and told them that the rights for this clock belong to us," he said.

Kormann said SBB would seek an "amicable agreement" with Apple that could see the clock design used in return for a license fee.

Apple's public relations offices in Germany and Switzerland didn't respond to repeated calls and emails requesting comment.

The Cupertino, California-based company has itself launched several patent and design rights claims against rival companies in the past.

Last month it won a $1.05 billion judgment against Samsung Electronics in a U.S. patent case.

The new iPhone 5 was launched Friday in eight countries.

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