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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    IBM, Ford, Coca Cola, Kodak etc. all provided goods to the Nazis even during the war, and they are all American companies. So they should be careful about any finger pointing about Nazi collaboration.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    Don't forget that the Swiss (Oerlikon) were selling anti-aircraft guns to the UK made out of German steel... Which means that UK war money was flowing into German coffers. Crazy world! They were quite prepared to sell to both sides.

    Neutrality is a difficult thing to pull off. If you don't sell to either side in such a war then you go bust and your economy goes down the tubes, starvation, riots etc ensue. Sell to both sides and you're sure to be annoying whoever the winner turns out to be.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    > Switzerland will still providing Nazi Germany with weapons and especially munitions in early 1944

    Citation needed.

    While I'm not big on Switzerland in WWII [turning away Jews at the border as per official policy was a dick move], this sounds unlikely.

    They would certainly accept a train of Gold from Bavaria though. Gnomes love Gold.

  4. Chemist

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    It seems many people don't realise the geography of Switzerland.

    After the start of WWII occupied France was on the western border, occupied Austria was on the eastern border, Axis power Italy was the southern border and Nazi Germany was the northern border. Now I don't see in the circumstances that given no direct access to the outside world that they could have resisted a serious invasion for long the German border is not as mountainous as the others.

    They did have a desperate plan in the event of an invasion to abandon the north and retreat to the mountains but it certainly would have been a major disaster. All the major engineering and chemical factories in the north would have been converted to German war production and the country's wealth used for German war purposes.

    They had to walk a VERY fine line. Can anyone think of an alternative they would have adopted ?

  5. keith_w

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    How were they doing that?

    "Switzerland's trade was blockaded by both the Allies and by the Axis. Economic cooperation and extension of credit to the Third Reich varied according to the perceived likelihood of invasion and the availability of other trading partners. Concessions reached a peak after a crucial rail link through Vichy France was severed in 1942, leaving Switzerland completely surrounded by the Axis. "

    They were surrounded on all sides by Germans or German allies. How were they able to ship AA guns to the UK. Granted they may have sold/licensed the designs, but those would not have been built with german steel unless it came from captured equipment.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    "Now I don't see in the circumstances that given no direct access to the outside world that they could have resisted a serious invasion for long the German border is not as mountainous as the others."

    Shoot twice and go home

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    "If you don't sell to either side in such a war then you go bust and your economy goes down the tubes, starvation, riots etc ensue. Sell to both sides and you're sure to be annoying whoever the winner turns out to be."

    Selling to the side that isn't murdering millions of people in cold blood might be a useful guideline.

    (Yes, I get that they were surrounded, but I suspect that there were times that their cooperation went just a tad beyond 'necessary to avoid invasion'...)

  8. Chemist

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    "but I suspect"

    Evidence ?

  9. Chemist

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    That's just an opinion. Faced with large numbers of tanks and aircraft they would have lost the industrial lowlands- that's mine

    They would have held out far longer in the mountains but probably would have been contained there only having the ability to use light weapons. I've spent a long time in the Swiss Alps and have a holiday home in Saas Fee so have some feel for the character and ability of the Swiss the mountains.

    All sorts of things went on in Switzerland during WWII including meetings between Allies and Axis generals and politicians.

  10. A.P.Richelieu

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    Maybe you are not aware, that the Swiss are not neutral by their own choice.

    The reason they are Neutral, is that the rest of Europe decided at the Vienna Congress

    after the Naopleonic Wars, that noone was interested any longer having Swiss

    Mercenaries romping all over the Battlefields of Europe.

    The Swiss were simply told, that they were not allowed on the playing ground any longer.

  11. A.P.Richelieu

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    The U.K. was trying to buy Optics from Germany for their Sniper Rifles.

    It was eventually decided by Germany, that even though they needed the hard currency,

    it was still a bad deal.

    The German steel was likely made from iron imported from Sweden.

    The important thing, is to keep out of war, and you wont do that if you irritate the 400 pound gorilla neighbour.

    You can irritate up to a point, Not selling iron to Germany, would for sure had caused an invasion.

    The Swedish iron was the main reason that both Churchill and Hitler invaded Norway.

    On the other hand, if you bend to pressure, this will not be forgotten.

    Sweden accepted German troops travelling by railway through Sweden during WWII

    and that has been a stinker ever since. Much more so, than selling the iron,

    which is funny, because that was much more important.

  12. A.P.Richelieu

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    I think they were bound by contract.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    "The reason they are Neutral, is that the rest of Europe decided at the Vienna Congress"

    Rubbish !

    The neutrality of Switzerland was guaranteed by the Congress of Vienna NOT imposed

  14. Chemist

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    " Of all the neutrals Switzerland has the greatest right to distinction. She has been the sole international force linking the hideously-sundered nations and ourselves. What does it matter whether she has been able to give us the commercial advantages we desire or has given too many to the Germans, to keep herself alive? She has been a democratic State, standing for freedom in self defence among her mountains, and in thought, in spite of race, largely on our side."

    Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), British wartime Prime Minister

  15. Handle This

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    Oh, please. Normally I would just let a comment like this go, but the idea of Swiss individuals who keep hunting rifles at home being an ultimate deterrent to the German Wehrmacht is just silly. If Germany had really been serious and had gotten around to it, I can't help but believe the Swiss would have been swept from their land in a relatively short time. Yes, some Germans would have been killed; a helluva lot more Swiss would have been lost. Switzerland did not pose a realistic threat to German interests at that time (I will leave others to determine or argue why that was so, and what interests were involved) and so was not militarily removed. That is all there is to it. I strongly admire Swiss independence and the principles upon which it rests, and I take a back seat to none in applauding their political acumen during the Second World War. But to try to frame an argument, as the author of the linked material seems to, that its was the right embodied in the American Second Constitutional Amendment that preserved their freedom isn't worth the energy I just spent on this comment. This is why I normally let this stuff pass. . . Hopefully I just read the link incorrectly and only made a fool of myself (something I do more often than post comments).

  16. Handle This

    Re: Swiss Neutrality ?

    "The Arms of Krupp," by William Manchester, an interesting history of Germany's largest and most thoroughly integrated cannon and munitions manufacturer, provides some relevant tidbits on this and many other subjects dealing with Germany's relationships with other nations in the pre-war runups and post-war rundowns of that nation's history. I only read it because it detailed an extremely distant part of our family, but I re-read it twice because I believe it is an execeptional, well-researched and informative read.

  17. JaitcH Silver badge

    Apple stealing IP? Again? Slow learners

    This is just the latest in a long line of purloining by Apple and MS. It's about time victims starting kneeing these thieves where it hurts most.

    Good for Swiss Railways.

    As for the term "Gnomes of Zurich". I think you should be using the term "Gnomes of Singapore" as more and more Europeans avoid Switzerland as their Piggy Bank now that the US, and a few other countries, have disclosure agreements with the country.

    Singapore is more independent than Switzerland and has a political dictatorship (LEE Kwan Yew is still pulling a few levers of power) and given it's key position in transportation is more unlikely to bend to the wishes of the USA.

    An indication of it's affiliations is that it keeps it time synchronised with that of BeiJing which can mess with Traveller's minds.

  18. stupormundi

    rectangle with radius

    Leica should sue them. That would be entertaining.

  19. dssf

    Timex must be envious....

    It could have taken a lickin' and done some STICKIN', hahaha

  20. Cliff

    ... in 1944 ... while the rest of Europe was focusing on other matters

    Love it, nicely understated.

    Fanta (pop drink) exists because Coca-cola wanted to supply the Nazi market with Coca-cola, but couldn't

    "Fanta originated due to difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo.[2] To circumvent this, Max Keith, the man in charge of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh how analog!

  22. Lars Silver badge

    Would it help if they put an apple at the end of the red second hand.

  23. Alphi99


    ironic... just months after suing someone else for stealing the look and feel of their devices.. here they are admitting to stealing the look and feel of someone else device...

    just goes to show that apple truly are a bunch of innovators..... <-- substitute appropriate word here..

  24. Slumberingjournalist

    Yet another reason to round up the IP trolls

    Hmmm. If you look carefully at the two designs you'll see that Apple's designers have made efforts to differentiate their work from the SBB clock.

    Almost everything is subtly different. Compare the length of the clock hands and also the way they taper on one design but not on the other. See the difference in the size of the minute marks. Note how one clock has text on the face but the other does not. Compare the thickness of the rims; and so on.

    In fact the only significant similarity is the sweep (seconds) hand with the circle on the tip. And even the colour of that is an evolution of the iOS5 iphone clock icon, which is also black with a red sweep hand.

    And that's without going in to the many features that both clocks share with the universal set of round-faced clocks.

    If SBB reckon they own the global IP on a circle at the tip of a sweep hand then good luck to them. I'd love to see that getting thrashed out in court (especially if the defendant were to argue their sweep tip sported a sphere rather than a circle).

    But, either way, for Apple the outcome's nothing but good PR. Good old Apple. What luck!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Yet another reason to round up the IP trolls

    Yeah, I can see how the Apple clock has more rounded corners than the SBB one !

  26. John Rose

    Interesting about "Hitler, enraged by the Swiss air force shooting down Luftwaffe planes that strayed across the border, ordered invasion plans drawn up, but they were never acted upon.". When USAF planes were involved in large scale bombing raids over Germany, some were shot down by Swiss anti-aircraft fire when they strayed into Switzerland usually after being 'injured' over Germany. The USA threatened to declare war against Switzerland if it continued. The Swiss immediately stopped their 'target practice'.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slavishly copied

    As per title.

    Funny how things come back to haunt you.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "No terms of the deal were announced, showing traditional Swiss reserve on matters of money."

    I always thought it was the loser who insisted on a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

    "Often, the exact terms of settlement agreements are purposely not publicly disclosed. This is particularly true in high-profile cases where the defendant (Apple) is seeking to protect its public reputation. In fact, it is the norm for large companies to settle with plaintiffs for an undisclosed amount and then immediately issue a statement denying any culpability, stating the company did nothing wrong."

  29. trashbat

    Infringement schmingefringement

    The Apple one shows 07:22, whilst the Swiss one 10:08, so not only are they distinctly different, Cupertino's innovation clearly came first.

  30. Baudwalk

    Wilhelm Tell revisited?

    Them Swiss do have it in for that particular fruit.

  31. Swarthy Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: Wilhelm Tell revisited?

    Thank you, I did LOL.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple's shit and so's the clock.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You bugger!

    I read through two pages of comments, smugly aware that no-one had pointed out the obvious "William Tell" angle... and then you pipped me right at the end!

  34. Stretch



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