APPLE has been accused of copying a classic Swiss railway clock design in an app shipped with the latest version of its iPad and iPhone operating system, iOS.
Apple launched the latest version of iOS this week, including an iPad alarm clock application featuring analogue faces. Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, the federal train operator in Switzerland, claims that these clock faces infringe a copyright design created for the organisation in 1955 by Hans Hilfiker.
The minimal design has become a national icon and is now licensed by Mondaine as a wrist watch.
SBB spokesman Christian Ginsig told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that the alleged use of the clock proved that it was a "true designer piece" and that the discovery had been a "joy". However, he also said that it was unauthorised and that SBB would be talking to Apple.
An SBB spokesman said: "We are in contact with Apple to seek together an agreement about the rights." Apple was not available for comment at the time of writing.
The Cupertino technology giant released the new iPhone 5 for sale today. Long lines appeared outside Apple Stores worldwide as shoppers jostled to be among the first to own the new device. The very first handset was sold to Australian Todd Foot in Sydney.
Some analysts expect Apple to sell up to 10m iPhone 5 models in before the end of September.
Matthew Sparkes Telegraph.co.uk