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back to article Apple pays up for stealing design from Swiss Railways

Apple may be willing to spend millions in court over some copyright fights, but it has learned the lessons of history and has decided not to mess with the Swiss. Last month, Switzerland's railway operator SBB took Cupertino to task for stealing the design of its clock for iOS 6's Clock app. Now the world's favorite fondleslab …

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Anonymous Coward

Haha!

I can imagine the conversation now - "pay up or we'll burn your money!"*

*with all due credit to Jasper Carrott for the joke.

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Anonymous Coward

A COMPLIMENT to

The best time keeping device designed in the home of time pieces, from the country where the trains always run on time transferred to the most iconic well built quality mobile phone!

I call the fine a compliment, Apple knows it and doesn't mind paying for the best.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple knows it and doesn't mind paying for the best.

- Especially when they get caught

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A COMPLIMENT to

Iconic? Certainly, well built quality mobile phone I'm having a harder time with though. Especially given as the clock is only on the iPad!

If Apple didn't mind paying, they'd have done so before hand. But then I guess that's their modus operandi based on a few of the complaints against them.

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dcd
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Re: A COMPLIMENT to

Thieving toady bastards!

Complement enough?

Steal first, pay later if fought.

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Re: A COMPLIMENT to

Quoting Steve Jobs (1994): "Good artists copy great artists steal" ...

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Facepalm

A word to the confused in here...

In these sorts of situations 'Settlement' is not synonymous with 'Adulation'

It's synonymous with 'Convicted'

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Trollface

"Good artists copy great artists steal"

Con artists do steal that is very true indeed.

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@Erwin Hofmann

>> Quoting Steve Jobs (1994): "Good artists copy great artists steal" ...

Attributed to Stravinsky. Or Picasso. Or TS Eliot. Probably predates any of them.

However - certainly not original by Steve Jobs.

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Anonymous Coward

@John H Woods

Thats the point

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Anonymous Coward

Apple knows the value and importance of a registered design patent, Samdung doesn't.

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Facepalm

Ah yes.... That's why they stole it first, and are only prepared to dig up the purse *after* a complaint.. and threat of lawsuit.

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Anonymous Coward

Can you actually name anything that Apple have been sued for "stealing" that isn't meant to be licensed under FRAND? It seems to me that Apple were made aware that they were using a trademarked design with their clock face and took steps to pay for its use. There's no evidence to suggest they stole the design deliberately (unless there's a 132 page document out there listing all the things they like about the clock face that they should copy).

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"Can you actually name anything that Apple have been sued for "stealing" that isn't meant to be licensed under FRAND?"

How about a Swiss railway clock, they aren't licenced under FRAND.

I heard El Reg even wrote an article about it *slaps forehead*

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Can you actually name anything that Apple have been sued for "stealing" that isn't meant to be licensed under FRAND?

Let's go with the Moto complaint against them, given that a Judge has ruled that Apple had a duty to negotiate, or could have used ETSI rather than simply trying to fight it out in court.

So, rather than a) pay up front or b) begin negotiating in good faith, they decided to fight in court, but continue using the technology at the same time.

So they've used the technology, patents being considered the 'property' of the holder without having paid a cent for them. I'd call that stealing (though I have difficulty accepting the idea of a patent as 'property' in all honesty.

unless there's a 132 page document out there listing all the things they like about the clock face that they should copy

Incidentally, have you read all of the document (the bits that have been made available, anyway)? Or have you just been catching the media snippets. I'd suggest you have a read and then make your mind up, it'll give you something to do whilst we wait for the legal system to work out what (if anything) the Jury actually got right!

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@Chet

No shit.

I'd have posted that lackwit comment under anonymous, too... ;o)

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Anonymous Coward

Can you actually name anything that Apple have been sued for "stealing"

I remember something about a jog wheel?

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Fart.

Apple only violates the finest patents.

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Joke

I can imagine the Swiss lawyer...

"M'lud, I'd like to cite case history "Apple vs Samsung", "Apple vs HTC", "Apple vs GEM", "Apple vs....the world..."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I can imagine the Swiss lawyer...

Apple vs Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

one reason...

the only reason apple have settled this quick is so that they can take a morral high ground when arguing that others copy their design.

the conversations will go along the lines of,:

"well, when it was brought to our attention that we had inadvertently duplicated a design we settled the dispute and paid a licensing fee. Now that we are bringing it to your attention that your rounded corners are the same as our rounded corners then you should do the same thing and pay us money now...."

if they had just left of the round bit on the second hand then I bet they would have told the Swiss to fuck off.... I can see it now in IOS6.001 the clock face will be changed and the money to the Swiss railway will stop.

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Headmaster

Morrals

Not sure how one uses a feed bag to gain the high ground. Care to elaborate?

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Joke

Re: Morrals

You get a couple of lawyers (good source of hot air) and a huge feeding bag along with some rope and a lightweight basket. Position yourself and the lawyers in the basket and ask them why patents are important.

Eventually you'll have an el cheapo hot air balloon (assuming the lawyers are pro bono) which you can land on whichever high ground you'd care to gain.

Was that what you're after?

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Holmes

It wasn't copyright as the subtitle suggests, it's trademark.

More precisely Swiss trademark number 512830 whose 10 year lifetime funnily enough expired on 3/9/2012, before iOS 6 was released.

Presumably SBB applied for a renewal, but Swissreg still shows the old expiry date.

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Anonymous Coward

trademarks

Trademarks are a company's intellectual property even if not registered - thats the difference between TM and (R).

Registration makes the legal cases a lot easier for the company.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: trademarks

While IANAL itis accepted that unregistered trademarks do not cross scope or field of use under Swiss law, so if left unregistered the SBB would have a bit of trouble defendingthe 3D trademark of their mechanical clocks against a software application. The SBB probably were just late submitting the renewal.

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Happy

Re: trademarks

" The SBB probably were just late submitting the renewal."

That would be rather ironic!

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Coat

Re: trademarks

Simon says: "That would be rather ironic!"

Actually, not really. After all, Apple nicked their damn clock, didn't they?

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But, has Apple argued that the registration expired?

If not, then apple cannot take any "moral high groung" simply because there could be not accidental use of the trademart or registered mark or copyright. With all the clearances and checking a company the size of apple or any smaller one, SOMEbody should have asked the artists or art department to declare the source or inspiration, and tondeclare at risk of termination that the work is original.

If apple did not use image matching software nor in advance consul over this, the Swiss should hold the secred aplke swiss bank account ransome, the lower its interest earnings, and threaten to leak the particulars if apple ever again so callously and brazenly hijacks the art of ANY other entity, not just a Swiss entity. Now, THAT would be "taking a moral high ground" if i can say so.

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Holmes

When you wish upon a star...

> Trademarks are a company's intellectual property even if not registered

Good luck defending those though.

TM stands for "Totally Meaningless"

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Anonymous Coward

AFAIK release date does not = development date. Although the case would still not hold up, it would suggest intent if the renewal was applied.

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IT Angle

Apple's iOS 6 app on the left (?)

So the clock in iOS6 looks different to previous versions...., and if the Reg's picture is telling the truth it actually now works and shows the correct time? As opposed to, say, 10:15.

Is that right?

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Anonymous Coward

Which app?

I'm using IOS 6 on my iPhone and the clock looks nothing like this... Is this only on the iPad?

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Re: Which app?

Yup

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Which app?

Yes, it's only used in the new World clock/alarm app for the iPad.

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Anonymous Coward

Precision?!

"The SBB's clocks are also notable for displaying traditional Swiss precision. All the SBBs clocks synchronize with a master time controller every minute"

If they're so precise, how come they have to resynch every minute?

At that rate, they'd be just as well to get eco-friendly Albanian gypsies to manually wind the clocks as steadily as they can (thus saving electricity), with a platform guard leaning out the window every 60 seconds to nudge the Albanian in the ribs with a long stick and signal the start of another minute.

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rvt

Re: Precision?!

They are synced, or at least in the past using DCF77. it's a long wave radio signal which carrier the time using a low bit rate signal.

Every minute there is a preamble of the start of a new minute. For this preamble is what the clock waits for to continue to the next minute. By running the second a little faster you can guarantee that it needs to wait, and this it will run on time.

Nowadays they don't run on DCF77 anymore, I know at least of one occasion of a guy in holland that made a transmitter that did send a different time over the same radio frequency, thus messing up the NS (Dutch Railway system, at the time) schedules of trains.

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Re: Precision?!

Huh, I'd have assumed they use the electric grid. We've been using that for plug in clocks for a rather long time here in the US and that's why there was quite a dust up last year when a gov't commission was putting together plans for dicking with it to see if they could improve reliability of the grid. I assume it had something to do with not making a motor out of the smallest tied in generator when it gets out of sync.

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Joke

Re: Precision?! Precision with a

Margin of error of 1.46784936274869699785635375868746354 seconds, hahaha

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Re: Precision?!

There's this concept called "multiple redundant systems". Rather big in backup circles, tends to get mentioned a lot in the IT press.

The clock doesn't need to resynch every minute. It does it anyway, just in case.

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Stop

Re: Precision?!

> I'd have assumed they use the electric grid.

You could have provided a link you lazy bastard.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43532031/ns/technology_and_science-innovation/t/power-grid-experiment-could-confuse-electric-clocks/

Well, anyone who uses the 50Hz signal on the power supply line to synch time for serious applications (i.e. anything else than a coffeemaker) deserves what he gets.

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Re: Precision?!

"You could have provided a link you lazy bastard."

You're right, my bad, I was going from memory and should have googled and linked it.

I don't think it would be that hard to tweak clocks to work in !quite nanofortnights for a 50Hz signal though.

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FAIL

Not surprising

Looks like Apple "slavishly copied" the clock.

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Anonymous Coward

That round clock

just looks like a rectangle with very round corners, the Swiss have infringed on apples copyright.

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Re: That round clock

Not quite. I think you'll find it's a zero-corner rectangle.

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Looks awfully like the clocks

in Canary Wharf - except that to avoid infringing the SSB design they've put a number 4 digit on the face.

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Einstein's clocks

And Einstein got clues for special relativity when he studied patents the Swiss railroad had for synchronizing their clocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Not Swiss precision though

How many bugs has Apple had with iOS and the alarm not working correct. One bug caused many to miss meetings, planes, trains, etc. The Swiss should have demanded compensation for the theft and that Apple must not use their design.

There are many different designs of clocks, why did Apple have to copy?

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Swiss Neutrality ?

I would big up Swiss neutrality in WW2 or Hitler being enraged by them, iirc Switzerland will still providing Nazi Germany with weapons and especially munitions in early 1944, they only stopped in May 1944 because the Nazis ran out of hard currency/someone else's gold.

The Americans and other allies weren't best pleased with them in the immediate aftermath of WW2.

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