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Apple paid £13.9m for its Swiss clock design

Mon Nov 12 2012, 12:12
Apple iOS 6 clock app

HARDWARE DESIGN COMPANY Apple has paid out a reported 21m Swiss francs, or £13.9m, over its use of a clock design that is more commonly associated with Swiss railway stations.

The clock design appears in Apple's latest mobile operating system and shows up as a white clockface with black numerals and a red seconds hand. However, Apple was not given permission to use it and had to license it.

Apple licensed the design of the clock from the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) in October. At that time the financial terms were not disclosed.

"The parties have negotiated an arrangement that enables Apple to use the SBB station clock under a licence agreement. The parties have agreed that the amount of the licensing fee and any further details of the licensing arrangement will remain confidential," said the SSB

"The SBB station clock was designed for the company in 1944 by the engineer and designer Hans Hilfiker. It is a design icon that has obviously lost none of its appeal in the digital age. A special feature of the clockface is its striking red second hand in the shape of a railway guard's signalling disc. Even now it symbolises the innovation and reliability that are key qualities attributed to both SBB and Switzerland as a whole."

However, this weekend a Swiss newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger, claimed to have learned the sum that changed hands, and that is a decidedly cuckoo 21m Swiss francs.

Apple has not yet commented on the report. µ


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