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Swiss rail accuses Apple of stealing clock design

Apple launched the latest version of iOS this week, including an iPad alarm clock application featuring analogue faces. 

SBB, the federal train operator in Switzerland, claims that these clock faces infringe a copyright design created for the organisation in 1955 by Hans Hilfiker.

The minimal design has become a national icon and is now licensed by Mondaine as a wrist watch.


Can you tell the time? Apple’s iPad clock app (below) versus Mondaine’s iconic clock face. Pic/AFP


SBB spokesman Christian Ginsig said that the alleged use of the clock proved that it was a “true designer piece” and that the discovery had been a “joy”. However, he also said that it was unauthorised and that SBB would be talking to Apple.

An SBB spokesman said: “We are in contact with Apple to seek together an agreement about the rights.” Apple was not available for comment.

The technology giant released the iPhone 5 for sale on Friday. Long lines appeared outside stores worldwide to be among the first to own the device. 

1944 The year in which SBB came up with the clock design 

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