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It could be if a Swiss watch maker has its way.

2012092710544538f80 300x300 Tick Tock: Apple Clock A Patent Timebomb?
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Image credit: AP

It appears Apple may have replicated the clock design used on iOS 6, which was originally developed by Swiss national train operator SBB.

The clock appears as an app on iPhone and iPad.

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

SBB reps confirmed to AFP they are to meet with Apple soon to discuss the issue.

The meeting was at the request of SBB company lawyers.

However, the Swiss company aren’t wishing to “upset them by asking for money,” a company rep told AFP, and said it was proud Cupertino had nabbed their design that will now be globally recognised.

But SBB is likely to require some payout from one of globes richest companies, with a current market capitalisation of US$631.38 billion based on current share price of $666.50.

 

“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,” SBB’s rep. added.

Patent disputes are big business in the tech world, of late.

 Apple is involved in a series of patent battles with Samsung, HTC and Motorola and was recently awarded $1bn by a US court in the Samsung case.

However, it seems likely Cupertino will want to resolve the dispute quickly rather than add to its litany of patent headaches.

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