Apple pays out over iOS 6's Swiss clock-up

Apple has agreed to license the design of a station clock owned by the Swiss Federal Railways after a distinctly similar timepiece appeared in Apple's iOS.

Apple has agreed to cough up for the rights to use the design of a Swiss rail company's clock.

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) had approached Apple about payment for using the design after noticing last month that a clock introduced in iOS 6 bore a resemblance to its own, 70-year-old clock timepiece.

"SBB and Apple have reached an agreement on the use of the SBB station clock on devices like the iPad and iPhone. The two parties have drawn up a licence agreement," the rail company said on Friday.

The SBB clock design that Apple has agreed to licence. Image: Shutterstock

SBB's station clock, built in 1944 by engineer and designer Hans Hilfiker, "is a design icon" according to the railway company. "It is a symbol of innovation and reliability, and represents an important identifying feature of SBB."

Apple attracted the attention of the SBB with the release of iOS 6 in June. The clock used in the latest iteration of the operating system uses the same red second hand as the Swiss railway company's station clock – with a distinctive red circle on the end. The circle, according to SBB, represents station staff's signal paddle.

The two companies didn't release any details on how much the licensing agreement was worth, or any of the terms of the deal.

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