Apple pays out £13 million over clock design

Apple is understood to have paid around $21 million (£13 million) to Federal Swiss Railways operator SBB after it used a protected clock-face design on the IOS 6.0 operating system in its iPad upgrade in September. 

Left: Apple's use of the design in its IOS 6.0 operating system. Right: The Mondaine clock-face
Left: Apple’s use of the design in its IOS 6.0 operating system. Right: The Mondaine clock-face

SBB has exclusive contracts in place for use of the design with Swiss watchmaker Mondaine.

SBB, which holds the copyright for the design first created by Hans Hilfiker in 1944, appears to have settled the dispute privately with Apple.

Neither Apple, Mondaine nor SBB would confirm the settlement, details of which were reported by a Swiss newspaper and news agency AFP.

However Mondaine does say that SBB has reached ‘a licensing agreement with Apple regarding its [the clock face’s] use.’

Mondaine also says that it is the ‘long-term exclusive licensee’ of the design owing to a 1986 contract with SBB, allowing it to produce, distribute and market watches based on the design and that it was therefore ‘surprised to hear about a license agreement between SBB and Apple’.

The row comes just weeks after Apple was locked in a separate dispute which saw Samsung shell out £665m over intellectual property infringements.

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