Apple could be in a spot of legal bother, with Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) claiming the Cupertino-based company has infringed on one of its trademarks. All of a sudden the shoe is on the other foot.
I have been writing about technology, both here on Blorge and beyond, for over five years now. In that time Apple has grown to dominate the tech world, with money in the bank, a phenomenal stock price, and a legion of rabid fans who won’t hear a bad word said about the company. Apple has also become more litigious in that time, suing its competitors over patents, and even completely unrelated companies and organizations.
However, Apple isn’t above the law, and, it has been suggested, is also not above stealing (or at least borrowing without asking) something belonging to someone else. That is the accusation being made against Apple by SBB right now, with Swiss newspaper Blick (via MacRumors) reporting that Swiss Federal Railways is preparing to challenge the company over its new Clock app for iPad.
SBB claims that the Clock app for iPad, which forms part of iOS 6, infringes on the design of the Swiss railway clock. This was designed by Hans Hilfiker in 1944 and has been used in stations throughout the railway network in Switzerland. SBB is the sole owner of the trademark and copyright to this design, but has previously licensed it out to Mondaine, a Swiss watch manufacturer.
The newspaper report suggests SBB is preparing a legal complaint, though I suspect Apple will first be given the opportunity to pay financial reparations for using the design both currently and in the future. If no deal can be made then Apple could be forced to fight a legal battle or change the design completely. If it holds its hands up and admits any wrongdoing, of course.