Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple pays up for lifting the design of a Swiss clock

October 12, 2012: 6:46 PM ET

A company that fiercely protects its own intellectual property got caught using another's

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iPhone clock app, left, with watch face licensed from SBB

FORTUNE -- The irony of Apple (AAPL) being accused of stealing the intellectual property of a Swiss clock designer was not lost on the tech press that had just spent a month covering the company's patent infringement suit against Samsung.

So when the Swiss railway operator SBB politely complained three weeks ago that the face of the clock app in iOS 6 was lifted from an iconic (and trademarked) design familiar to anyone who has ever waited for the next train from Zurich, the accusation made for several days of amused headlines.

On Friday, the story finally achieved a kind of closure when SBB announced that a settlement had been reached:

"For the use of the clockface on certain Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, the parties have negotiated an arrangement that enables Apple to use the SBB station clock under a licence agreement," SBB said in a statement. "The parties have agreed that the amount of the licensing fee and any further details of the licensing arrangement will remain confidential."

And that's that.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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