Apple struck a deal with Swiss railway operator SBB earlier this month that allows the Cupertino company to continue using its iconic railway clock design for the clock app on the iPad. It seems, however, that SBB may not have had the right to license its design to Apple after all.
You see, a clock and watch manufacturer called Mondaine has an exclusive license with SBB that means it should be the only company with the rights to the design. Mondaine says it was “surprised” to hear that SBB had been granted Apple a license, too.When SBB highlighted the fact that Apple had used its iconic railway clock on the iPad without license, Apple moved quickly to put things right. Just weeks later, on October 13, SBB announced it had come to a licensing agreement with Apple that allowed it to continue using its design.
We thought that would be the end of the whole thing. But apparently not. In a press release, Mondaine insists it should be the exclusive licensee of the design:
Mondaine holds a long term exclusive licensee according to a contract with SBB to produce, distribute and market watches and clocks based on the SBB design since 1986 and got surprised to hear about a license agreement between SBB and Apple.
Mondaine co-owner Andre Bernheim played down the situation by saying: “Apple shows great taste by choosing this design for their clock on their devices, and now, the owners of Mondaine watches and clocks as well as iPad owners can even enjoy the same distinct design.”
Whether or not Mondaine will let this slide — considering it shouldn’t actually make any difference to its own products — remains to be seen. But I’ll bet it’s not happy with the SBB.