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California-based Apple in talks with owner of clock trademarks?

The iconic technology company Apple may be infringing upon another company’s trademarked icon, or so it seems. SBB, a state-owned railway operator in another nation, claims that Apple’s new iPhone operating system violates the trademarks it holds for a clock icon displaying red and black hands. The latest iPhone operating system just came out, and the software does include the SBB clock icon at issue.

SBB apparently first designed the eye-catching clock design back in 1944. The company reportedly does allow others to use the design, but apparently Apple did not have such an agreement set up ahead of time. An SBB spokesperson indicated that the company is in talks with California-based Apple to establish a license or settlement agreement which would allow the company to continue using the clock icon in its new operating system.

His comments hinted that an agreement between the two companies could be reached quickly. He further stated that money wasn’t the sole issue being considered. According to him, an agreement between two well-known brands would be a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone involved.

It would almost certainly benefit the Swiss owner of the clock trademarks, considering that it was estimated that California-based Apple could sell more than 10 million units of the latest iPhone in its opening weekend alone. Negotiating a licensing agreement between the two companies would allow them both to see the benefits of Apple’s continued use of the red, black, and white clock icon. On the other hand, if the two companies fail to reach a mutually agreeable settlement, it could potentially lead to a trademark battle in court at a later date.

Source: Newsday, “Apple iOS 6 clock violates Swiss trademark, state railway charges,” Sept. 21, 2012