Apple is in trouble for copying Switzerland’s famous railway clock

by: ŠtefanSeptember 21, 2012

Hans Hilfiker, an engineer, designed a clock face for the Swiss Federal Railways in 1955 that quickly became an internationally recognized symbol for his native country. Apple, with Wednesday’s release of iOS 6, used Hilfiker’s design as the icon for the clock application in the iPad. According to the Swiss site, the SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen; aka Swiss Federal Railways) is “angry”. One of their spokespeople told the site that they’re trying to get in touch with Apple to discuss the financial and legal implications of the unauthorized use of their design. That’s all we know about the story thus far.

So let’s count the number of things Apple screwed up in iOS 6: One, they pulled out YouTube, but that’s OK since Google launched a YouTube iOS app. Two, they pulled out Google Maps, which is making everyone upset because the new maps in iOS 6 are not only ugly, but they’re inaccurate too, which makes them doubly useless. Third, this whole clock thing. For a software release that’s been out for less than 48 hours, we’re curious to see how many more controversies occur.

Should we all be furious at Apple? Normally we’d say no, that it’s OK for companies to compete because that drives society as a whole towards a better future, but this is different. Apple sues damn near everyone who uses Android, going in so far as to have devices taken off markets in certain countries, and now they’re blatantly copying a design that’s synonymous with an entire country. What’s worse?

Is there anything good about this story? Potentially yes, if you’re in Switzerland that is. Apple will likely pay the SBB some money, and hopefully that money ends up being spent on upgrading trains, renovating some of the older railway stations, and other such infrastructure related projects.

  • Vitor Hugo Santos

    HA! Karma’s a bitch.

  • pato

    Now you will see what copying something feels like sad to Apple don’t lose direction stay focused

  • DigitalxXBoy

    How do you like them apples, Apple? Lol.

  • Thomas Cat

    Also to add to the number of things Apple screwed up in iOS 6…

    Four, the wifi security issues requiring you to switch proxy settings from “OFF” to “AUTO”

    Five, bluetooth is not working for everyone. Audio track listing and control features are broken.

  • oklo alaku

    thot the clock icon was design from the scratch…and it’s an innovation by Apple….now I know what Crap Apple call innovation…

    • Apple and innovation really don’t even belong in the same sentence. They’ve “innovated” a lot of things since way back. Innovated being what they accuse whomever of when they start feeling the competition. It’s high time they get some karma in return.

  • SamsaraGuru

    What goes around comes around; as ye sow so shall ye reap and couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of fellas.

  • Scyld

    not only succeed sue samsung apple also made them as “public enemy” against all ppl in the world… wrong step to move forward they will get hammer fall down on their head :P… Time has passed and can not be turned back… just carefull with ur step.. everyone watching to take u down ;))

  • Apple getting some of they’re medicine.

    • you mean their*?

      • I’m betting English isn’t his first language. Just maybe. I mean I may be wrong, his name does scream “American as apple pie”. Right?

      • Sorry for my mistake. BTW I am from Icleand :D

        • You can still edit and correct your comment if you like. :-) But I say just take it easy and do not care! :-)

      • Fuckface

  • Critters eyes

    “Two, they pulled out Google Maps,”

    …because Google wasn’t going to let them have turn by turn navigation. Google Maps on iOS has always been a dumbed down version of the Android App.

    So Apple has a new maps App, and it kinda sucks at the moment. I expect it will get better…like Google Maps has over the years, and like it is still improving:

    So is Nokia Maps. Used to hate it, but now it is really reliable. Still shows me as being in odd locations, but that is usually more due to less-than-accurate GPS positioning, and not the fault of the Maps themselves.

    • The new Applie maps shows my house with the newer landscaping, neighbors too, Google’s images 2-3 years old!

      • Shows you how long Google has been building out their maps. Apple got a Long way to go

  • What a joke, who owns the patent for a stickfigure, a drawing of the sun, or better yet, the smile face used on all the chat programs and text?


    • Because Apple was around in 1955, You fucking dipshit. Go kill yourself…Bring apple with you.

  • TechGuy

    Perhaps Swiss Railways will buy their staff Samsung Notes like American Airlines.