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Cupertino dodges potential patent timebomb, forced to cough up $20m to use a clock interface on iOS 6.

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Apple has now been forced to cough up $20.8m, or 20m Swiss francs, to a Swiss rail company after using its clock interface design without permission, reports AFP citing local sources

Apple replicated the clock design, originally developed by Swiss national train operator SBB, on iOS 6 for its iPhone and iPad released in September.

SBB representatives first initiated a meeting with Apple to resolve the potential patent infringement after it noticed the similarity between its clock design and the clock interface featured on the new software for iPhone and iPads.

The iPhone maker is currently involved in patent disputes with rivals Samsung, Motorola and HTC (although the latter was resolved this week), so it was in their interests to resolve the issue sooner rather than later.

The $20.8 m settlement means the tech giant can continue to use the clock design. 

The minimalistic clock was designed by Swiss engineer Hans Hilfiker in 1944. It features in all SBB’s rail stations and is licensed by Swiss watchmaker Mundane.

 

Read: Tick-Tock: Apple Clock A Patent Timebomb?

“There are a lot of brands that use the SBB logo, though nothing like Apple. It’s not just about a exchanging money, rather drawing up a contract stating where the logo can be used, under what conditions and for how long,” a SBB rep previously said.

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