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The companies haven't disclosed how much Apple is paying

Apple has decided to pay up for an allegedly stolen clock design in its latest iOS 6 mobile operating system.

IOS 6, which was released last month only days ahead of the iPhone 5, featured a new clock design for the iPad that seemed pretty basic. Just a white face with black, rectangular notches representing the numbers, black hour/minute hands and a red seconds hand. No big deal, right?

Wrong. The iOS 6 clock was nearly identical to a clock design developed by a railway company in Switzerland called Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). SBB said its company created that clock design back in 1944.
 

SBB's clock [left] and Apple's iOS 6 clock design (right)
[Image Source: IBN Live]

When SBB became aware of the stolen design, it immediately contacted Apple in hopes of some sort of licensing agreement.

"We are proud that this icon of clock design is being used by a globally successful company," said Reto Kormann, SBB spokesperson. "We've approached Apple and told them that the rights for this clock belong to us."

Now, Apple has agreed on licensing terms for the clock design with SBB. However, the companies haven't disclosed how much Apple is paying.

It's interesting to see Apple on the losing end of a copyright infringement claim; especially after the hell it has put Samsung through over mobile patent lawsuits. After a lengthy battle with Samsung around the globe, a U.S. jury found Samsung guilty of copying the iPhone/iPad for its Galaxy line. Not only was Samsung ordered to pay $1.05 billion USD in damages, but a court date on December 6 may lead to more product bans for the South Korean electronics maker. Apple is also looking to boost that $1.05 billion fine to $3 billion.

Source: The Verge



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By Solandri on 10/14/2012 6:31:54 AM , Rating: 5
That's because Apple's requested licensing fees were completely unreasonable - $30 per smartphone, $40 per tablet. With royalties like that, Apple would've been making more profit off of Samsung's phones and tablets than Samsung. Their requested fees wasn't a bona fide attempt to be compensated for rights to their IP. It was an attempt to eliminate competitors from the market.
http://allthingsd.com/20120810/breaking-apple-offe...

A typical license fee for a good technology patent is around 1%. For minor and FRAND patents and mass-produced items, it's closer to 0.1% or less. Whatever Apple is paying Swiss Railway to license the clock design, I guarantee you it is not 5%-10% the cost of an iPhone. Don't even try to pretend the situations are in any way similar.

Look, whether you're on Apple's side or Samsung's side, realize what's really going on. This has nothing to do with inventions and protecting innovation. This is all about exploiting the current IP system to screw over your competitor(s) by getting their products banned from the market for a minor infringement. Once you have them over a barrel and they're cut off from their revenue stream, then you can force them to agree to completely unrealistic licensing fees they would've scoffed at before.

It's what happened to RIM - over 2/3rds of a billion dollars for the "innovative" idea of sending email over cellular wireless networks instead of 802.11bgn wireless networks. Even Apple has been victim to this. They're on the current patent trolling tear because they've been screwed over in the past by patent trolls requiring them to pay licensing fees for nonsensical patents. They've just chosen to fight fire with fire, rather than the mutually assured destruction detente other companies chose by amassing huge patent portfolios.


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