Confidential Info on Apple’s SBB Clock License Gets Leaked

Cupertino pays 20 million Swiss francs / $21 million / €17 million

Apple has shelled out 20 million Swiss francs ($21 million, or €17 million) for the right to use a clock design trademarked and licensed by the Swiss Federal Railway Service.

The SBB agreed to license the Hans Hilfiker clock face to Apple after hearing news of the Cupertino giant including said design in its iOS operating system, without the SBB consent.

“Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and Apple have reached an agreement on the use of SBB's station clock on certain devices such as iPads and iPhones,” the SBB and Apple said in a joint statement last month.

“This arrangement has been mutually agreed by both parties in a licence agreement.”

The two parties reached a settlement outside courtrooms, but the amount of money paid by Apple to keep using the clock remained undisclosed.

“For the use of the clockface on certain Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, the parties have negotiated an arrangement that enables Apple to use the SBB station clock under a licence agreement,” said the SBB.

“The parties have agreed that the amount of the licensing fee and any further details of the licensing arrangement will remain confidential.”

Until now, that is. According to Forbes, Apple will be paying the equivalent of 100,000 iPads for the right to use the SBB’s clock design in iOS – 20 million Swiss francs / $21 million / €17 million.

In other words, the information got leaked.

Designed in 1944 by engineer and designer Hans Hilfiker, the SBB station clock is described by the Swiss company as “a design icon that has obviously lost none of its appeal in the digital age,” referring to the Apple iPad.

Its iconic red second hand in the shape of a railway guard's signaling disc, “even now […] symbolises the innovation and reliability that are key qualities attributed to both SBB and Switzerland as a whole,” said the SBB.

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