Technology

Apple's turn to be accused of copying

SWITZERLAND'S national rail company has accused Apple of stealing the look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used by iPhone and iPad devices.

Both designs have a round clock face with black indicators except for the second hand, which is red.

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A spokesman for the Swiss Federal Railways, or SBB, said the Apple design was ''identical'' to the one designed by the rail company in 1944.

''We are proud that this icon of clock design is being used by a globally successful company,'' said Reto Kormann, noting that Apple had not asked for permission before doing so. ''We've approached Apple and told them that the rights for this clock belong to us.''

Mr Kormann said SBB would seek an ''amicable agreement'' with Apple that could see the clock design used in return for a licence fee.

Apple's public relations offices in Germany and Switzerland did not respond to repeated calls and emails requesting comment.

Face-off ... the Swiss rail clock, left, and Apple's clock.
Face-off ... the Swiss rail clock, left, and Apple's clock. Photo: AP

The California-based company has itself launched several patent and design rights claims against rival companies in the past.

The iPhone 5 was launched on Friday in eight countries, including Australia.

Associated Press