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Apple accused of copying famous clock design for iOS 6

Apple has been accused of copying a famous clock design for the time teller in its latest mobile OS.

Apple could be in trouble over the clock in iOS 6, Macrumors reports. The Swiss Federal Railway service (SBB) has taken issue with the iOS 6 time-teller, according to a Swiss newspaper, claiming it's a copy of its own famous (and copyrighted) design.

So yes, Apple could be embroiled in another court case. What was that it said after it won $1 billion from Samsung about how "stealing isn't right"?

The simple-but-effective Swiss clock was designed in 1944 by then-SBB employee Hans Hilfiker. It's still used in stations throughout the railway service, and is also licensed to Mondaine, a Swiss watch maker.

An SBB spokesperson told Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger he was pleased Apple was using the design, but that it wasn't authorised to do so. The SBB hasn't drafted a legal document, taped it to an iPhone and hurled in Apple's direction as yet, but the newspaper suggests one is on the way.

Apple has protected its own clock design in the past. Back in 2009, it sent a letter to app developer Tapbots, telling it in no uncertain terms that the clock icon in its pocket converter app resembled that in Apple's own phone app. Tapbots changed its design, and no further action was needed.

But that's nothing compared to the lengths Apple will go to to protect its hardware designs. It won $1bn from Samsung over patent infringement, and is now after a further $700m. There's protecting your designs, and then there's wanting to crush the competition. And considering every one of Samsung's counter claims was quashed, I think Apple has proved its point. I'm sure many would see a suit by the SBB against Apple as poetic justice.

Whether a court case will come about, or which way the outcome will go, only time will tell.

Do you think the SBB should take Apple to task? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.

Image credit: CNET