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Swiss Railway: Apple's Using Its Clock Design Without Permission

timothy posted about a year ago | from the always-a-good-time-to-borrow-clever-designs dept.

GUI 274

An anonymous reader writes "Apple received a lot of criticism during the Apple/Samsung litigation this past Summer as folks deemed it absurd that Apple was able to patent things such as icon design and the overall form factor of a smartphone. Well as it turns out, it appears that Apple has engaged in some copying of its own in the form of the new clock icon design used in iOS 6 on the iPad- a rather ironic turn of events given that Apple railed against Samsung for copying its own iOS icons. Specifically, the clock icon in iOS 6 on the iPad is a blatant copy of a Hans Hilfiker design to which both the trademark and copyright is owned by the Swiss Federal Railways service."

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274 comments

Great artists steal. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429175)

So what?

Re:Great artists steal. (5, Insightful)

kh31d4r (2591021) | about a year ago | (#41429219)

maybe the swiss are just afraid of the lawsuit that apple will throw their way after they patent the design?

Re:Great artists steal. (2, Funny)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about a year ago | (#41429617)

The design is already trademarked by the SBB. Did you not read the article? Oh yeah, this is Slashdot.

Re:Great artists steal. (5, Insightful)

jhd (7165) | about a year ago | (#41429921)

The comment was intended as a humorous stab at Apple.... here have this clue, I have a few of extras.

so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#41429183)

i have to pay the swiss?

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429203)

i have to pay the swiss?

So I can't make a rectangular phone with rounded edges?

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (3, Informative)

crmarvin42 (652893) | about a year ago | (#41429245)

As a matter of fact that most people missed in the Samsung verdict, you CAN use the rounded rectangle shape. That was one of the few point of victory for Samsung... But don't let me get in the way of your trolling.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (2)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#41429309)

That don't hide the fact that in short words Apple argued that

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0, Troll)

crmarvin42 (652893) | about a year ago | (#41429833)

Strawman much? I never stated, or implied they didn't. Only that of all the potentially weak patents they asserted, they lost this one. If that patent and the clock face patent are truly of similar quality, then the Swiss shouldn't expect anymore success than apple saw with the rounded rectangles patent.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (5, Insightful)

Calos (2281322) | about a year ago | (#41429323)

Yes, because Apple is totally absolved from trying that idiotic stunt, just because they didn't get away with it.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429545)

Yes, because Apple is totally absolved from trying that idiotic stunt, just because they didn't get away with it.

If you wish to try and pin absurd and idiotic on a company when it comes to patent litigation, take a number and get in fucking line.

I'm not fanboi, but common sense is lacking in every damn direction in and around patent law.

Go figure the only ones truly enjoying themselves (and getting absurdly rich) are the lawyers...they wouldn't have it any other way.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (2)

crmarvin42 (652893) | about a year ago | (#41429633)

Never said they were deserving or even in need of absolution. They tried and failed on that point. The post I was replying to was conflating the two for understandable reasons, but since apple lost that point I suspect that the Swiss will as well. If you want to nail apple for something, use one of the rediculous patents that actually held up in court.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (1)

mweather (1089505) | about a year ago | (#41430069)

If you want to nail apple for something, use one of the rediculous patents that actually held up in court.

Or one of the ones they unsucessfully tried to get upheld.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429339)

The fact they lost doesn't change the fact Apple patented the rectangle with rounded edges and tried to own it.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0, Offtopic)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#41429553)

That argument rings as hollow as those in AZ insisting that the immigration laws don't target Mexicans. Technically true on paper, but practice is a whole different matter.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429715)

That doesn't change the fact that Apple tried to sue them over it. But don't let that get in the way of your fanboy jerkfest.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429775)

> But don't let me get in the way of your trolling.

He's not trolling, he's making a point. If anyone is being dumb, that one is you (IMHO, granted).

Now, obviously the Swiss are doing this with educational purposes.

That and the elected Pirate Mayor makes them instantly one of the coolest nations on Earth.

I guess I'll start taking German lessons.

And French!

And Italian... 8-o

And Romansh... what?!?

No that's not entirely true: (4, Informative)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#41430323)

Apple did win some of the design claims, including the front face and bezel etc.

http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/08/24/a-verdict-reached-jury-apple-v-samsung-case/ [thenextweb.com]

For the infringement of the D’677 patent, covering the front face of the iPhone, Samsung was found to infringe on all devices aside from the Ace. On the D’087 patent, relating to the back of the iPhone, all Samsung devices aside from the S 4G and Vibrant only were found to infringe.

On the D’305 patent, all Samsung devices were found to infringe. That’s the design of Apple’s iOS icons. The jury also felt that Samsung should have known that the icons were being copied

..

Trade Dress

Samsung could not prove that the ’893 trade dress on the iPhone 3G was not protectable. The iPhone 3G trade dress was found to be diluted by many of Samsung’s products, despite not being registered. Only the Captivate, Charge, Epic 4G, Galaxy S 2, Skyrocket, Infuse and Epic 4G touch were found not to dilute the 3G’s trade dress.

The Galaxy S 4G, one of Samsung’s flagship devices, was found to dilute the trade dress of the iPhone 3G, cranking up the damages numbers quite a bit.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429215)

So, I can't make a rectangular box with rounded corners? I have to pay Apple.

What goes around comes around.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429271)

Insightful? That was one of the points Apple lost in the Samsung case.

Anyway, as an Apple user, I find this incident amusing. It looks like they're in the wrong here. Hopefully they will pay up without fuss.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429453)

I guess UPS owes them royalties from the shape of boxes I get.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429223)

Only if you make millions of dollars off it.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429293)

Is that the only aspect of the design you noticed? That it has no numbers? No, Apple is making an exact copy of every single visual element of the clock, minus the logo. That's what's wrong.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429375)

Is that the only aspect of the design you noticed? That it has no numbers? No, Apple is making an exact copy of every single visual element of the clock, minus the logo. That's what's wrong.

Look, seriously, give it up. That's an Apple fanboy you're arguing with. Strawmanning is the LEAST of their problems. You're never going to get through to him. Best to just let him be and watch with amusement as he repeatedly brings up double standards between The Word Of Jobs and the rest of the planet.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429487)

Is that the only aspect of the design you noticed? That it has no numbers? No, Apple is making an exact copy of every single visual element of the clock, minus the logo. That's what's wrong.

So, it's a 50 year old watch face design, Apple will just license it. Apparently they thought it was open domain.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#41429653)

The design is almost 70 years old. What is wrong is people thinking they can lock up art and culture that long.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429699)

You live by the sword...

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#41429873)

That's exactly what I thought. Even the red second hand - the most recent change - was added in 1953. But then I realized that Mickey Mouse is still in copyright as well. Weird, weird world we live in.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (4, Informative)

marga (455344) | about a year ago | (#41430139)

Exactly what I thought when I read the article. How long can the copyright on the design of a clock last? If it's 70 years, then it'll still be protected for 11 more years.

But then, it's also a trademark. I don't know swiss law, but trademarks are usually allowed to be renewed forever... If that's the case with this clock, then nobody will be able to ever make a clock that looks like this one without paying the Swiss Railway.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429813)

Actually the hand shapes are different. Subtle difference but there. And the second hand at the axis is different. The clock face itself is common. Well used before. The hands are the unique IP. And is a tapered hand with square end different than a straight sided one? Yes. And both hand designs are used elsewhere as well. That leaves the red second hand. The red is not unique. Well used before. That leaves the round dot at he end. Well, that might be unique to the origiginal design, but has been used since without protest in England. Though the clocks there have a single hour marker at different hours depending on the clock. Very odd. So that leaves the collection of design elements and he round dot, which replaced the fancy arrowheads from before it. But offset from the collections argument is the difference in hand shapes. Would it be protested, yes. But is the difference enough to protect Apple. The /. Folks as a whole aren't qualified to answer. It depends on what the Swiss trademarked in text about the design. But the easiest solution is Apple change the second hand end design, to an Apple! Well, maybe an older style arrow head modernized by sir Ives. I have seen reverse teardrops as well, which is pretty close. So use that and round ends on the hands, poof! Now it is unique again.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429345)

You can, you just can't use the exact shape of the copyrighted design. TFA has some pictures, this is not a coincidence.

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (1)

cinky (2632165) | about a year ago | (#41429749)

it's not just the no numbers. the way the hours are marked, the hands look EXACTLY the same... Not to mention it awfully looks like the clocks we used to have at school that was built during communist era in Czechoslovakia (except the red second hand - it didn't have the circle at its tip)

Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429843)

Listen, it's simple, noddy.
Switzerland relies heavily on horology to earn foreign currency.
The Swiss are famous for their timepieces, there are countless fakes, and the Swiss export trade group spends millions hunting down the fakes and confiscating them, punshing those who claim to produce "Swiss made" watches or anything bearing the Swiss flag.
They MUST sue Apple for this blatant attempt to claim affiliation with the Swiss brand, or they lose the right to punish anyone else for doing similar.
They must defend their trademarks and patents, just like anyone else, or they lose the right to those privileges.
Due diligence.
So, yes, of course you have to pay to use their trademarked design, just as you would have to pay through the nose to put an apple with a bite taken out on your computer or mobile phone. It's not at all unreasonable.
But you can make a clock without numbers so long as you don't use exactly the same design as has been trademarked by the SBB/CFF, or anyone else's patented clock face design.
And Apple are fucking stupid for attempting this move. The Swiss, amongst whom I live as an alien resident, will not find this amusing at all.
Just one more collosally arrogant move from Apple - you've got to wonder if someone's deliberately trying to destroy the reputation because of a short place on stocks or some other fiscally oriented attempt to devalue the share price.
It's got EPIC FAIL written on it large and clear, and no clear reason why anyone would deliberately do anything so blatant - with all the press that Apple has generated over the new patent war it launched, it can't have been a simple "oversight"...

UK Railway not happy too... (5, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#41429193)

Apple has always stolen other designs since day on (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#41429229)

not that it is especially wrong for this: everyone steal from everyone, and then improves on it. this is how creation works

which tells us how useless and ignorant intellectual property, as a concept, is

you may ask then how does the solitary inventor protect his <strike>invention</strike> incremental improvement, standing on the shoulders of others, from being ripped off by large players?

there are a number of legal ways to do this. but if you think the current system is anything but a joke that protects ONLY those large players, and consists of ridiculous wasteful absurd legal posturing games between large players where only lawyers benefit, you are an idiot. the game currently is: he with the largest legion of lawyers wins. that's it, that's the whole game

it's absurdity, and the system is profoundly broken

Re:Apple has always stolen other designs since day (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429277)

you may ask then how does the solitary inventor protect his invention incremental improvement, standing on the shoulders of others, from being ripped off by large players?

The same way a automotive mechanic or home builder protects his investment in work -- Don't do the work unless you've got a contract to get paid for doing so. If we paid inventors enough up front to do the work of inventing, then they wouldn't need to use artificial scarcity to extort money from the rest of us after the fact. "Intellectual Property" is a SCAM! Work for free with no guarantee of getting paid, and if people like your work you might get paid enough to recoup costs and turn a profit! --or you might have invested your time in shite no one wants and you go to the poor house. That's Gambling folks.

Instead, put out some samples, draw up some designs, do an estimate of what it'll cost to produce some software, invention, music, video, game, whatever. Then if people agree to fund the work you do the work and get paid for doing it. You don't have to charge anything for the invention, or media once the work is done. The ideas and bits aren't scarce -- They're in infinite supply. So, you can't sell that which is in infinite supply -- Instead sell what is scarce: The ability to invent, the ability to make new software, new songs, new movies, etc. You can't sell sand to beach bums; You can't sell Ice to Eskimos; You can't sell Copies to Computer owners.

Oblig. Bad Car Analogy (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#41429341)

If violating a patent is really a form of property theft, then the police (Federal, in this case) should be taking stolen IP reports. And dispatching officers to apprehend the culprits and recover the stolen property.

Just like with stolen cars*, the priority for each case isn't assigned based on the wealth or status of the complainant. A shitbox Honda gets the same attention as a Bentley. Nobody insists on you hiring your own recovery agents and attorneys to get your car back. That's the job of law enforcement.

The down side is that: If our cops get this responsibility, there are going to be the equivalent of dead pedestrians and other collateral damage resulting from the chase.

*I know, not really valid. When they steal your patent, its like your car is still parked where you left it. Someone else is just driving a copy of it around, stupid bumper stickers and all.

My translation ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429475)

outrage, ... outrage .... outrage .....outrage if you think something that disagrees with me ....you are an idiot. outrage ... outrage ....

In other words, the parent is outraged at the current patent and intellectual property system in the US and wants to throw the whole thing out and if you disagree with him, you are an idiot.

And he got mod'ed up for it, too.

Never mind. I'm gonna go to Fark now and see what's going to be on Slashdot's front page on Tuesday.

Re:Apple has always stolen other designs since day (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#41429531)

The system wasn't nearly as bad as it was until the first rulings that "on a computer" was novel. "one click" had been done for thousands of years before it was patented "on a computer". It was previously called "running a tab". Most "on a computer" patents are similarly idiotic. Look and feel patents are a violation of the idea of innovation. Arrangement of a home/start page isn't a technical innovation, and should be denied in all patent applications as a copyright issue (if anything, not saying the copyright claims should be successful, but that it shouldn't be a patent issue at all).

Incremental improvements have been shown to be simultaneous often through history, with multiple places claiming the first airplane, helicopter, recording device or transmitting device of various kinds. If two people can invent the same thing at the same time with no collaboration, what does that say about the uniqueness of the invention/discovery? The current theories on invention are that such things are inevitable, given the demands and present tech. The problems are that the available tech isn't sufficient, or that there is no need to be filled.

Things like the computer and printing press were invented by need and tech. Babbage would have been the undisputed inventor of computers with a 1960's style punch card system, if only the machine-works were sufficient for the tolerances he required, or the electrical tech was sufficiently advanced for him to attempt that route. Since neither was sufficient, he is a theoretical inventor of an adding machine (that would have worked, but didn't at the time). So the "discovery" of computers was left for a later date. And was solved in multiple ways by multiple different people over overlapping periods (mostly over WWII, with the US pioneering electrical-based systems, Germans getting mechanical systems done well, and the English doing whatever they could, based on their allies and captured enemy tech.

Re:Apple has always stolen other designs since day (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#41429591)

not that it is especially wrong for this: everyone steal from everyone, and then improves on it. this is how creation works

There is an Academic concept of plagiarism. This is very interesting because it has nothing to do with copying; academics are supposed to copy. Someone who fails to report what their predecessors said is treated with more contempt. Plagiarism, however, is worse. It is taking other people's words and ideas without crediting them. That gives you some idea what is wrong here.

which tells us how useless and ignorant intellectual property, as a concept, is

For "Intellectual property" as a phrase and a grouping you are probably right, but we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are specific kinds of intellectual property, trademarks are one of them, which have real value. Without clear ownership of names it's very difficult for companies to build a reputation. Without reputation there is no difference between a cheap forced labour made rip off job like an iPhone and a serious communication device like an EADS Tetra terminal. If you ended up in with your communication device packing up just because you put it sprayed it with water to stop it melting you would be rightly upset when you found out someone had given you an inferior product by accident.

With the swiss railways, there is serious value here. When you buy a watch endorsed by them [amazon.com] it means something. This is not some random quartz knock off job. Proper precision engineering. Think of the famous joke:

Q: You are standing in Bern railway station; you see a train coming in; you look at your watch and see that the train is late; What are the two possible explanations?
A1) it's not a Swiss watch.
A2) it's not a Swiss train.

In this particular case there are series of design elements which are completely different from a normal clock; Lack of numbers; a bright red circle on the second hand. A very plain white disk. These are things which are original from Swiss railways and that nobody used before them. If you exactly copy these then you are basically trying to make off the reputation of the Swiss railway. This is something which can reasonably be protected; merely by changing from a bright red to a blue triangle you can copy the concept (a clock which emphasises the change of every second) without copying the design.

Now you might ask; "why does the rtfa-troll support Swiss Railways here and not Apple there". Well firstly; I'm not supporting them for a "beeelion dollars" like Apple wants. I'm supporting them for a couple of hundred quid and an apology. Secondly; pick a random Samsung Galaxy S vs iPhone comparison [youtube.com]. Have a look at the way that key design elements (the bare metal surround on the side of the phone) are different. Anything which clearly distinguishes one product from another should be enough. The key standard is "designed so as to be easily confused with" not "designed to pay homage to".

It would be a shame if the IP cowboys forced us to throw away all of the things that are valuable in trademarks or secrets just because they abuse patents and copyright.

It's the black bars that represent the numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429237)

on the white background - exactly the same size and shape as the Swiss clock, as well as the arms.

Re:It's the black bars that represent the numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429539)

Hands.. Clocks don't have arms, they have hands.. At least they did until this digital bullshit came along... Goddamn kids, with their modern 'numbers'.. tryin' to be all precise 'n shit

Couldn't happen to a more deserving company (1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#41429247)

Couldn't happen to a more deserving company. It is about as original and innovative as a rectangle with rounded corners

I always thought (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429259)

I always thought the Swiss were homophobic. Guess this proves it

Re:I always thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429615)

Muhammad he met Omar,
At the Mardi Gras
He took him back to his place
And fucked him up the Arse

In other news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429329)

Apple today announced it has completed its purchase of the Swiss Railway System and the Museum of Modern Art, and anticipates purchasing both Switzerland and New York City by end of the quarter.

Anyone else want to criticize Apple?
You will be hearing from them.

Re:In other news (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year ago | (#41429773)

Joke apart; while Apple have enough money to buy the Swiss Federal Railways anonymous company, the fact that all the shares are owned by the Swiss government will be a definitive showstopper.

Classic blunder (5, Funny)

Squeeself (729802) | about a year ago | (#41429333)

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against the Swiss when watches are on the line!" Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Should have waited two years (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#41429355)

The clock was designed in 1944. Swiss patents expire after 70 years.

I con't be the only one that finds it to be rather ugly.

Re:Should have waited two years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429379)

Trademark, not patent.

Re:Should have waited two years (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#41429695)

Irrelevant. Culture is culture, we cannot allow immortal corporations infinite monopoly on a design, even if they choose it as the mark under which they trade.

Re:Should have waited two years (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#41429431)

But their copyrights are a different matter. Can you copyright something as common as a clockface? I'm no Apple fanboi, but this seems a real stretch. How about street signs? Google street views?

C'mon. We've past the ludicrous and have ventured into the surreal.

Re:Should have waited two years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429581)

This is an exact copy of a non-obvious clock design. Google "clock" and try to find a clock with a circle red second hand. The second hand could have a arrow tipped shape instead of a circle, then we would not be having this discussion. Heck, it could be black and apple might avoided a lawsuit. However, it is a the exact same copy as the copyright. Apple will have to yield or else our copy right laws have failed us.

Re:Should have waited two years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429675)

There's a plenty ways to design a clock face (inb4 Samsung, there's much less ways to design a handheld touchscreen device).

Let's count simple ways you can change a simple clock face with hands without changing functionality and general idea: shape can be rectangular or circular (or, actually, any polygonal and oval shape), numbering can be absent, present on every 1/12 division or every 1/4 division (and styled in a lot of ways), hands can be thin, line-like, thick rectangular (or triangular, or ..), they can have or not have heads (heads can also be in a lot of shapes), seconds can appear as a separate dial, ... And that's just variations on common design.

Or you can have three concentric disks with marks instead of hands, or you can invert it and have a fixed mark above spinning dials, or...

Just visit Watchismo or Tokyo Flash and look at all them designs. There's basically no excuse to copy it (unless Apple's designer accidentally thought about making unnumbered circular dial with tapered black hour and minute hands and red thin second hand with circular head).

Re:Should have waited two years (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#41429745)

I have a bunch of watches; I rarely wear them anymore. Each one is different. I can't know what was in the Apple artist's mind. If it's a design that was indeed ripped from the face of a Swiss Clock, and that clock face is legally copyrighted, then perhaps there's a problem-- but the bigger problem is that a clock face is copyrightable in the first place.

What's next, stop signs? Certainly not. Warning labels? Puhleeze.

Re:Should have waited two years (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#41429989)

But their copyrights are a different matter. Can you copyright something as common as a clockface? I'm no Apple fanboi, but this seems a real stretch. How about street signs? Google street views?

For a clockface: Should be no problem to get a trademark, if it looks sufficiently distinctive and identifies your company or product. There are gazillions of ways to design a clock face in distinctive ways. With Google street views I'd think that each individual photograph is protected by copyright, but anyone has exactly the same right as Google to take photos of exactly the same location.

The Swiss Railways clock (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#41429357)

Here's a Swiss railroad clock in its native habitat, at Cornavin station. [worldradio.ch] There are clocks at regular intervals along platforms, and the second hands are, of course, in sync. It's part of the Swiss Railways branding - their stations tend to have a large, if not excessive, number of those clocks.

It's a famous design. A home-size version is available from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. [momastore.org] (It does not, however, sync to an external time source.)

Difference is direct competition! (0)

xombo (628858) | about a year ago | (#41429419)

The difference is that the Samsung products all competed directly with the product that Apple created. With these watches/clocks, the Clock.app isn't competing with their market for expensive wristwatches and industrial clocks. While they may be able to reach some agreement to license the design itself, it won't result in the same sort of trade-dress/injunction legal issues.

Re:Difference is direct competition! (5, Interesting)

hyanakin (1545359) | about a year ago | (#41429605)

Actually, some swiss guy asked the swiss federal railroad if he can use the design for an according app in the AppStore. The swiss federal railroad gave him permission to do so.

Now comes Apple and rips off the design also - so there is a direct competition between the app developer and Apple.

In Recent News (5, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year ago | (#41429433)

Apple today announced that they have been granted a patent for using other peoples' designs. iCopy will be featured in all of their future products.

What's that?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429477)

Apple still copying other people's work and then calling it 'innovation'? Or copying blatant, and obvious functions from other devices in life/history, then trying to patent their function because they jammed it onto their OS? All for the sole purpose of stifling any actual competition.

Now they can't even manage a clock face without ripping it off, way to be creative guys! (This from the one company with the longest standing history of running Photoshop and Illustrator by the way, sad really)

Seems pretty cut and dry, and ever so typically American. Please, waste some more cash on litigation instead of being creative like you used to be, I'm sure this model will last forever.

And folks seem surprised on top of this. Staggering.

No no no (0)

future assassin (639396) | about a year ago | (#41429567)

its different, its on a "mobile" device... You know those small hand held computers that automagically belong in their own world which can't be translated into the non handheld computer world.

My prediction of the oucome (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#41429651)

Apple will counter-sue, claiming that Apple is equivalent to God, and owns all ideas regardless of who here on Earth may have also thought of them, and the court will find in Apple's favor, and ask the Railway Service how they could possibly have been so dumb.

Re:My prediction of the oucome (5, Funny)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#41429789)

What kind of education has Apple given you?

Steve Jobs is God. Apple is His sacred realm. Once he realized His job was finished, He departed this world, leaving his trusted prophet Tim Cook in charge of spreading His faith to all non-believers, by whatever means necessary.

He did leave us, mere mortals, with the best advice we have ever received:

It is never a fault of the iDevice in question, it is a shortcoming of its user, who does not know how to operate it correctly.

In its original Jobsian dialect: "You're holding it wrong. Sent from my iPhone."

A sidenote... (4, Insightful)

Misagon (1135) | about a year ago | (#41429681)

Is there anybody but me who thinks that Apple should have made the "clock" look like a watch instead of a clock?
Watches are what people are using the iPhone clock for anyway...

Typical Apple (2)

TrueSpeed (576528) | about a year ago | (#41429729)

So it's okay for Apple to label Samsung a copycat for creating icons that look similar to iPhone icons, but when you rip off someone else's design VERBATIM you're not? This company has become so brazen that they'll now plagiarize without any attribution or compensation.

Will Apple voluntarily withdraw it's products (2, Interesting)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#41429735)

Now that Apple's misconduct has been revealed will Apple do what they wanted done to Samsung and withdraw their products voluntarily from Europe? If they don't they Apple are hypocrites, and that's not cool.

Re:Will Apple voluntarily withdraw it's products (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year ago | (#41430025)

I'm pretty critical of some of these ios 6 screw ups, but your analogy is off. The clock app isn't exactly competing with the physical clocks sold with the Swiss Railway face. That being said, yes, they should have either licensed the design or just come up with a new clock face. Oh, look, the iPod Nano already had a bunch. This issue is just a facepalm compared to the Maps fiasco.

Apple has engaged in some copying of its own (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41429797)

Yes, since their fucking inception.
In fact, that's all they ever do.

Now this clear copying. (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#41429853)

This is a clear-cut case of blatant copying of a design, Apple should just admit it, pay up and move on.

Re:Now this clear copying. (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#41429941)

This is a clear-cut case of blatant copying of a design, Apple should just admit it, pay up and move on.

Move on to what? More litigation and cheating?

Re:Now this clear copying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41430037)

Apple are, and always have been, thieves. They have been stealing other designs and software ideas long before they copied the idea of an mp3 player. Unlike every other company (except MS in the IBM days), they have a massive army of deranged zealots, as well as a huge paid force of sycophants in the media which sweeps this blatant theft under the carpet.

Re:Now this clear copying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41430303)

LOL. Not in a million years.

Re:Now this clear copying. (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41430371)

I agree with you. In a few weeks they release another clock face, admit this was inadvertent and try and settle for a small sum. If anything by paying for a look and feel violation strengthens their hand on the lawsuits they do care about.

Sad (5, Insightful)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | about a year ago | (#41429867)

Swiss Patent Office workers used to make such better use of their time.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41430113)

Haha! Nice historical reference ;-)
If I had mod points today I wouldn't know if to give you 'funny' or ínsightful'

Yeesh (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year ago | (#41429943)

I recognized the clock face instantly after installing iOS 6 becuase I have one of the official wall clocks and one of the wtaches from MOMA. Yeah, I sort of like the design. I figured Apple licensed it. Oops.

I like my Apple stuff, but some of the larger shareholders need to call for a shareholder meeting to find out WTF is going on here with this and the maps. FFS when you are one of the most watched corporations in the world, by both your fanbots and haterbots, do you even get close to doing things like this if you aren't nuts? Walled garden, schmalled garden, people can walk away any time, or at least at the next device upgrade.

Re:Yeesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41430049)

No need to call meetings to find it out. As predicted, no Steve Jobs equals no Apple magic.

Seriously, I look at iPhone 5 and think: "Would Steve allow such inelegance as letterboxing or beta-quality basic apps?"

Meh (-1, Offtopic)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year ago | (#41430007)

I can't comment on Swiss copyright, trademark, or patent law. But in the US, I'm not sure that I see the problem.

The clock's visual appearance is almost, if not entirely, uncopyrightable in the US. The only thing about the face and hands that might be creative and original (i.e. not copied from a previous source) would be the proportion of the hour marks to the minute marks, and the circle at the end of the second hand. The color choices, lack of numerals, and overall aesthetic are pretty common among timekeeping devices. The proportion of the marks -- given that they're frequently made distinct from each other -- is also probably not going to be protected standing alone (also n.b. that the proportions are not quite the same -- Apple's minute marks are thinner and taller than the Swiss counterparts).

This basically leaves the circle at the end of the second hand. Not the coloration either, as second hands are commonly red. Honestly, I'd lean toward it being de minimis.

Plus, as a graphic work, only the parts of the clock that do not have utility as a timekeeping device can be copyrighted, per copyright's utility doctrine. A court would have to separate the useful from non-useful elements of the Swiss clock to see what's left that could be copyrighted. Where this is not possible, the inseparable elements are treated as uncopyrightable. For such a starkly utilitarian design, this is going to knock out virtually everything again. The circle might be left -- unless there's some reason that it has to be that shape -- but with so little objectionable copying left, I'd still lean toward de minimis copying.

Apparently the clock was designed in the 1940s, so there would not be any patents left on it, although a design patent is usually what you'd want to protect something like this.

And as for trademarks, well, I doubt that a Swiss railway clock has a strong trademark in the US. Apple might end up having to redo the app for Switzerland or other parts of Europe, but I'd be surprised to learn that there would be any consumer confusion here, and I certainly can't see dilution for lack of fame. Plus trademarks also have a utility doctrine.

Remember: outright copying is not inherently bad. For things in the public domain, it is encouraged. And almost all -- if not, as I suspect, entirely all -- of this clock is in the public domain in the US. Apple will have to decide how they want to handle this elsewhere, and whether it's worth it to have different versions, or license it, or what. But from here in the states, I really don't see anything interesting here.

Re:Meh (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year ago | (#41430165)

its the whole thing that is the problem not bits and pieces.

make a show where the main character travels about in a Box might slide

the Box is Blue
maybe maybe not

it has a white Light on the top
getting dodgy there

The character is English (or some version of Anglo-Saxon)
lets think about it

Breath the two Words TIME TRAVEL
Excuse me I have somebody from BBC legal on line 4 for you

this AS A WHOLE is a deliberate rip-off of the Swiss Train Clock (i would bet it pauses on the 00 second for a fraction of a Tick also)

same thing with using a Red Cross on anything remotely medical/safety (i think J&J more or less licenses the RC bit from the ARC).

Re:Meh (1)

hyanakin (1545359) | about a year ago | (#41430219)

Well, the second hand goes around continuously without ticking... and then it has about 1.5 seconds pause at the full minute.

That was because it was simpler to construct back then and the power was only 50hz or something... so at every full minute, a new impulse is given and all the second handles on every train station starts the minute round anew. so they're all in sync despite being analog watches.

Re:Meh (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#41430167)

Trademarks don't require any of that stuff you mentioned. It simply requires you be the first to use it in your industry. That's it. Sum total of a trademark. I can trademark the word "I Am A Trademark" in times new roman for the "Internet Forum Posting" industry, and as long as nobody else has done it, it's mine. No need to examine prior art, prove novelty, etc. It's a stamp, a logo, a signature -- all it has to be is not used anywhere else prior to registration.

Re:Meh (3, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#41430283)

The clock's visual appearance is almost, if not entirely, uncopyrightable in the US.

The US DOJ takes down knock-off and counterfeit sites all the time, because design is, indeed, protected.

http://torrentfreak.com/feds-seize-130-domain-names-in-mass-crackdown-111125/ [torrentfreak.com]
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20023918-93.html [cnet.com]

Now if justice really was blind, and there was true equality in front of the law, we should see one of these on the apple web site too, not just companies that sell handbags and jerseys.

call the swiss pirate party... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41430129)

and tell them to cry a fucking river.

Prior art (-1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about a year ago | (#41430311)

The Swiss claim that the design is theirs and dates from 1994 is ludicrous.

Here's a Dutch national railways clock form 1977 [nicospilt.com] which differs only in minor details. There are others which are so similar that the 1994 design can only be called an evolution.

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