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back to article Swiss railways ticked off at iOS clock knock-off

As hipsters and tragics queue for new iPhones, Switzerland's railway operator, SBB, has complained that Cupertino copied its design for the clock display used in iOS6. Your rounded corners might not save you: SBB's railway clock (left) and Apple's iOS6 clock icon (right) While expressing "joy" that iOS6 uses what it clearly …

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Meh

That looks like about 50% of the clocks I've ever seen.

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That was my first thought too but the second hand may be the deciding factor. It is very distinctive and you can't make a logical argument for it based on function. I think the big blob on the end looks silly, but that's just personal opinion.

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Looks like average 50+ year old swiss clock

If you take a swiss clock from 50+ years back second hand is nearly always red and blobbed at the end. Even Omega used to do them this way.

These are the sole distinctive features - the rest is bog standard. So even if they had a trademark on it then, they have failed to defend it (as per trademark law) by chasing everyone and their dog in their _OWN_ country who did clocks to the same design.

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Flame

Looks like a lot of clocks I've seen was my initial thought.

But if SBB have the Trademark, I do hope they take Apple to court. Sause for the goose and all that. The Apple/Samsung lookylikey battle was stupid and this would highlight Apples ridiculous stance. (The Samsung looked like most other tablets I'd seen, and I'm writing this on my iPad so I'm not totally antiApple)

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TRT
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It's similar but not the same.

Look at the length of the minute hand relative to the fiducial marks, and the ratio of the second hand blob size to the length of the second hand.

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Re: Looks like average 50+ year old swiss clock

There is a difference between chasing and allowing. Perhaps they allowed the original "copiers" but havent allowed apple?

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@TRT - was Re: It's similar but not the same.

Similar but not the same... You mean like Samsung phones?

Apple did rather open this Pandora's box, so this story does make me smile. The rash of over litigious companies is not good for progress, with lawyers (and BMW dealerships) coming out on top.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks like average 50+ year old swiss clock

No, It does look like the swiss one. Actually, the properly licenced swiss railways watch is not infrequently seen on Grauniad offers.

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Facepalm

Re: Looks like average 50+ year old swiss clock

Allowing and not chasing means you've allowed your patent to lapse and therefore can't protect it.... which they may have done.

We shall see.

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Childcatcher

Re: Looks like average 50+ year old swiss clock

Maybe it as to do with the innovative round corners?

I don't want to live on this planet anymore ...

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@frank ly

The big red blob on the end is there because swiss trains depart on time - sekundengenau.

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When the obvious is stated

You obviously earn downvotes.

Never mind I put one up you.

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Blanket eblank

Not because it clobbered a cuckoo?

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FAIL

Re: Looks like average 50+ year old swiss clock

So even if they had a trademark on it then, they have failed to defend it (as per trademark law) by chasing everyone and their dog in their _OWN_ country who did clocks to the same design.

Is that how Swiss law works? Not having studied Swiss law, I have no idea. On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice if patent law worked the same way. That'd kill of a whole section of the patent trolls business model.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks like average 50+ year old swiss clock

Gentlemen,

trademark ≠ patent

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Anonymous Coward

Next step...

Apple have got this covered, first thing in the morning they will file a patent for 'time' and then they'll counter sue Switzerland for a billion army knives.

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Re: Next step...

the Swiss company has the is trademarked so apple filing a patent is pointless

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Coat

Oh no

...as Roger Glover once wrote, "Swiss time was running out"

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Coat

Re: Next step...

Didn't God invent the Apple? Isn't it just about one of the first things like, ever!

I wonder when the Vatican is going to take legal action? I guess they've failed to enforce protection on the apple (or maybe they haven't ! )

OR, perhaps it was truly given to the Son

(Down vote in, 3,2,1...)

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Re: Oh no

"Swiss time is running out."

Are you suggesting that Apple are going to burn down the Swiss railways with a flare gun?

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Trollface

Re: Next step...

Apple will countersue with their design patent on parallel lines.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh no

But I assume they'd be all for people "making records with a mobile"!

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TRT
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Re: Oh no

They will just make sure that you cannot find their stations. Ah, pre-emptive strike, perhaps? Apparently Apple have reopened Aldwych tube station, and moved it quarter of a mile.

http://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/post/31926453993/apple-has-reopened-aldwych-underground-station

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Next step...

God may have invented the Apple, but it was 'Eve's job' to run with it and improve upon the concept (she contracted in a minion to take the now-famous-bite).

Do you see what I did there....

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WTF?

Re: Next step...

"the Swiss company has the is trademarked so apple filing a patent is pointless"

I think you need your first coffee of the day.

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Devil

Re: Next step...

Plus all those swiss rail toilet doors that have a slide to unlock latch are clearly in violation of Apple's patent. Not to mention the fact that every single one of their windows are rectangle's with rounded corners. The swiss don't stand a chance....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh no

"...some stupid with a flare gun...."

If the description fits....

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Copyright

I've got a pocket watch based on the design which I bought at an SBB ticket office. They do guard the design very carefully, and I expect them to win this one. And so they should.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Copyright

I expect Apple will say it's a fair request, negotiate hard over royalties and SBB will end up happy. Alternatively, they might change their name to Samsung and tell SBB to fuck off.

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I love those SBB clocks, especially the way the seconds hand rotates continuously instead of moving in ticks.

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Boffin

The Swiss have saying about Trains

"If the two o'clock train doesn't leave at two o'clock, it's either not a Swiss train or not a Swiss clock"

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Stop

Do the SBB set new clocks by looking at the timetable?

I love the way the second hand *doesn't* move continuously. Or at least, it does move continuously for fifty-eight and a half seconds, then it *stops*, and clicks up to the twelve o'clock position as the minute hand moves from one minute to another. If I had found a replica that duplicated that feature when I was in Switzerland, I'd have got it. As others have noted, you can buy souvenir SBB clocks all over the place, but they're usually just a cheap (by Swiss standards) movement with a ticking second hand.

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I wonder if the Apple one ticks? The other feature of SBB clocks is that the second hand takes about 59 seconds to do the sweep, then it stops, and the whole thing kicks off again with a pulse exactly on the minute. Has anyone been on a Swiss railway station in the early hours in March or October to see how they do the summer time adjustment?

I thought about buying a Swiss-style clock once but they are horrendously expensive for what you get.

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Trollface

"they are horrendously expensive for what you get."

quite ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "they are horrendously expensive for what you get."

Aha, another feature copied by Apple then.......

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do the SBB set new clocks by looking at the timetable?

"I love the way the second hand *doesn't* move continuously."

Always been told the reason for this is that all the railway clocks were kept in sync by sending a sync pulse every minute ... so second hand mechanism was designed to be slightly fast to get to 59 secs and then wait for the sync pulse which marked the start of the next minute. That way all the clocks showed identical time apart from a possible very sligt variation in the second hand.

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TRT
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Re: Do the SBB set new clocks by looking at the timetable?

Re: Swiss Railway saying.

But I need to travel at 3pm.

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Anonymous Coward

Whereas if it does you can set your non-Swiss watch by it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do the SBB set new clocks by looking at the timetable?

Up until about the year 2000 the mechanical version of Mondaine's SBB watch did exactly that. They phased it out because the movement wasn't as reliable as normal ones.

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Happy

Re: Do the SBB set new clocks by looking at the timetable?

Early ntp anyone? got to get the true geek element going after all.

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@Velv: The Swiss have saying about Trains

True. Two illustrations.

I was standing on the platform at Hardbrukke, on a frosty, foggy morning. The train was 45 seconds late and a chap started to have a panic attack. "Where is the train?"

I was in Chur, and as people were getting off they were being given leaflets. The train had been 1 minute late 3 days running, and this was the explanation.

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Stop

Ahhh...

But did the Swiss think of filing for copyright *in the US* ?

Because , you know....

Other than that, I think yuo'll find that tons of station, bus stop, and wall clocks have a face like that, there's only so much you can do with a white background, black indicator stripes in a circle, and numerals.

Unless you're willing to argue about tenths of millimeters and next-to-indistinguishable numeral fonts.

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Re: Ahhh...

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_parties_to_international_copyright_agreements

And given that Apple seem to spend so much time suing other people over the general appearance of iThings, I suspect they'll find it hard to now argue that its not relevent in this case. What goes around, comes around.

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Re: Ahhh...

Well, the international agreement that covers copyright is the Berne Convention, named after the city of Berne in Switzerland

(Granted, on iOS6 Maps, Berne may not actually be in Switzerland --- assuming that Switzerland is in Maps, of course)

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Re: Ahhh...

"there's only so much you can do with a white background, black indicator stripes in a circle, and numerals."

and there's only so much you can do with a touch screen phone..

rounded corners being an obvious necessity.

but nice lack of basic comprehension of design.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple copying?!

I'm shocked! Shocked I say!

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Coat

Re: Apple copying?!

To be fair to apple they haven't copied the Google maps application in their latest os, either visually or functionally. To be honest you could say they are redefining mapping that's been stuck in a rut of accuracy.... :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple copying?!

Apple is not making watches.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple copying?!

I would love to see an Apple defence in court along the lines of:

"See, we didn't copy Google Maps - our maps don't even work"

Or:

"In order to avoid copying Google Maps, we decided to move all the landmarks and towns around a bit."

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