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(C|Net)   Proving that time really is money, Apple's stolen clock design costs them $21 million to license from Swiss railway service   (news.cnet.com) divider line 48
    More: Followup, Switzerland, SBB, clocks, Museum of Modern Art, swiss railway  
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4152 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Nov 2012 at 2:46 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-13 01:15:19 PM  
That's a whole hour's revenue for Apple.
 
2012-11-13 02:00:37 PM  

ZAZ: That's a whole hour's revenue for Apple.


Yeah I wonder how that number was reached. You'd think that with penalties on the line or having to push a new iOS update, Apple would have paid more. I'd have tried for a per-seat license.
 
2012-11-13 02:12:52 PM  
Maybe it's based on the fact that it's not all that distinctive as a design. I've seen others pretty similar. I'd laugh if somebody saw this and sued the Swiss railway service for stealing their design.
 
2012-11-13 02:58:23 PM  
Mine doesn't look like that.
 
2012-11-13 03:08:24 PM  
The iHatrz butthurt on fark is great today.
 
2012-11-13 03:08:59 PM  
Theft as innovation. Not really all that innovating. It's amazing how cavalier Apple can be with the IP of others, even as it jealously guards its ludicrous patents and IP from others.
 
2012-11-13 03:09:18 PM  
Another reason why iOS6 is far superior to Jellybean.
 
2012-11-13 03:12:59 PM  
Sounds like Apple just got

•_•)
( •_•)>⌐■-■
(⌐■_■)

Railroaded.
 
2012-11-13 03:15:41 PM  

bingethinker: Maybe it's based on the fact that it's not all that distinctive as a design. I've seen others pretty similar. I'd laugh if somebody saw this and sued the Swiss railway service for stealing their design.


Were those similar ones created before 1944? I mean this is a very famous design, "Hilfiker's design has been honored by both the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the London Design Museum and has become a symbol of Swiss punctuality."
 
2012-11-13 03:21:47 PM  

bingethinker: Maybe it's based on the fact that it's not all that distinctive as a design. I've seen others pretty similar. I'd laugh if somebody saw this and sued the Swiss railway service for stealing their design.


Sort of like rounded corners on something designed to fit in your pocket?
 
2012-11-13 03:22:10 PM  

bingethinker: Maybe it's based on the fact that it's not all that distinctive as a design. I've seen others pretty similar. I'd laugh if somebody saw this and sued the Swiss railway service for stealing their design.


upload.wikimedia.org
Distinctive.

www.swiss-miss.com
Not distinctive.

...

I'm confused.
 
2012-11-13 03:35:26 PM  

majestic: Mine doesn't look like that.


You bought a Chinese knockoff.
 
2012-11-13 03:37:53 PM  

majestic: Mine doesn't look like that.


iPad only - IIRC
 
2012-11-13 03:39:55 PM  
Well, it's clear that they really wanted that clock design. $21 mil is nothing to them, but it would have been much easier to just use a different clock design.
 
2012-11-13 03:44:39 PM  
They don't even look the same. The Swiss one has tapered hands and the hash marks are different sizes. Why on earth did Apple pay for that?
 
2012-11-13 03:44:57 PM  
There's no numbers on it.
It's timeless.
 
2012-11-13 04:00:20 PM  
Given their current design patent battles I imagine Apple might view $21million as money well spent if it helps boost precedent in design patent cases and associated damages.
 
2012-11-13 04:04:02 PM  

Axel_Gear: They don't even look the same. The Swiss one has tapered hands and the hash marks are different sizes. Why on earth did Apple pay for that?


Because they don't need to be identical, but merely give the same visual impression:
asset2.cbsistatic.com
In this case, if you looked at one and then the other, and didn't have time to do a "find the 5 differences", then they'd probably give you the same overall impression.
 
2012-11-13 04:05:07 PM  

The Evil That Lies In The Hearts Of Men: helps boost precedent in design patent cases


This is trade dress, not design patents. Similar doctrines for infringement, but any design patent would have long since expired.
 
2012-11-13 04:41:58 PM  
So ... for once Apple's giving money to Swiss trains instead of Swiss banks?
 
2012-11-13 05:09:08 PM  

Nova81426: it would have been much easier to just use a different clock design


Well, if anyone would know about visual design for timepieces, mobile device UX and IP law, it would be you, random internet poster!

/what is it about Apple that draws out the peanut gallery?
 
2012-11-13 05:13:26 PM  
Even as much as it disgusts me, I have to say that this again is dumb as hell. Even if it puts me on Apple's side.

The form of a clock is incredibly tied to its function. You need large markers to demarkate either 5 minute intervals or 15 minute intervals. To do anything else is confusing. And long, short, thinlong design has been around for a while.

Admittedly, maybe they could have changed the color, but I still find this arbitrary and stupid.
 
2012-11-13 05:13:29 PM  
They don't look the same to me at all...The hands are facing in completely different directions.
 
2012-11-13 05:20:19 PM  

Kinek: Admittedly, maybe they could have changed the color, but I still find this arbitrary and stupid.


I wonder if they would have gotten away for it if not for those meddling attorneys the bulb on the end of the second hand. That's the one odd bit that really sticks out to me.
 
2012-11-13 05:24:54 PM  

you have pee hands: Kinek: Admittedly, maybe they could have changed the color, but I still find this arbitrary and stupid.

I wonder if they would have gotten away for it if not for those meddling attorneys the bulb on the end of the second hand. That's the one odd bit that really sticks out to me.


That's the part that stuck out to me too. But it's functional when you think about it. Hour and minute are a no go. As are the demarkations of 5 minute intervals and minute intervals. But the bulb....

But then I looked at this. Link

Actually, the wikipedia article. And look at what those arms have on the end? Bulbs. My thought is that the bulb allows to find the end of the arm quickly and easily. Not necessary in this model because of the thickness of the arms. But with the thin second arm, you need something to tell you where the thin part is. Hence bulb.
 
2012-11-13 05:25:39 PM  

Kinek: you have pee hands: Kinek: Admittedly, maybe they could have changed the color, but I still find this arbitrary and stupid.

I wonder if they would have gotten away for it if not for those meddling attorneys the bulb on the end of the second hand. That's the one odd bit that really sticks out to me.

That's the part that stuck out to me too. But it's functional when you think about it. Hour and minute are a no go. As are the demarkations of 5 minute intervals and minute intervals. But the bulb....

But then I looked at this. Link

Actually, the wikipedia article. And look at what those arms have on the end? Bulbs. My thought is that the bulb allows to find the end of the arm quickly and easily. Not necessary in this model because of the thickness of the arms. But with the thin second arm, you need something to tell you where the thin part is. Hence bulb.


upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-11-13 05:28:20 PM  
asset2.cbsistatic.com

Total bullshiat. The angles the hands are at look completely different!
 
2012-11-13 05:30:57 PM  
jesus farking balls, can we post this stupid story one more time? i don't think all the windows knob-slobbers and ballmer white-knighters who "use" their "computer" for "real work" got properly juiced the last 45 farking times this tired dogshiat was posted. let's get a few more linux haters up in this biatch for turds and titters this time, at least. throw me a farking bone.
 
2012-11-13 06:15:43 PM  

TheTrashcanMan: The iHatrz butthurt on fark is great today.


Said by the man getting fitted for a solid gold buttplug...
 
2012-11-13 06:38:36 PM  

mccallcl: Nova81426: it would have been much easier to just use a different clock design

Well, if anyone would know about visual design for timepieces, mobile device UX and IP law, it would be you, random internet poster!

/what is it about Apple that draws out the peanut gallery?


Are we not supposed to comment on articles anymore? I'm confused.
 
2012-11-13 06:47:55 PM  
Good for them. It IS a distinctive design. Remember it was created in 1944 and the Swiss Railway owns the design. I remember seeing the design in a Industrial design class as one of the classics of 20th century design. They also license the design "for money" to a watch company....it's not public domain, it's a property and revenue maker for the Swiss Railways.
 
2012-11-13 08:17:47 PM  
Almost want to side with Apple here. 68 year old copyright on something that's borderline cultural heritage (or they seem to claim) is pretty BS.

On the other hand, an numeral-less analog clock on a phone? A phone that can just display the time in any number of easy to read digital formats? I'm going to call this $21m a 'hipster pandering tax.' And, let's be honest, that's a hell of a bargain compared to the millage from that demographic.
 
2012-11-13 08:33:44 PM  

ProfessorOhki: Almost want to side with Apple here. 68 year old copyright on something that's borderline cultural heritage (or they seem to claim) is pretty BS.

On the other hand, an numeral-less analog clock on a phone? A phone that can just display the time in any number of easy to read digital formats? I'm going to call this $21m a 'hipster pandering tax.' And, let's be honest, that's a hell of a bargain compared to the millage from that demographic.


Trade dress. Not copyright. And dear god, I think I'm becoming Thaetus. If I ever express interest in going to law school shoot me in the knees.
 
2012-11-13 08:53:21 PM  

Kinek: ProfessorOhki: Almost want to side with Apple here. 68 year old copyright on something that's borderline cultural heritage (or they seem to claim) is pretty BS.

On the other hand, an numeral-less analog clock on a phone? A phone that can just display the time in any number of easy to read digital formats? I'm going to call this $21m a 'hipster pandering tax.' And, let's be honest, that's a hell of a bargain compared to the millage from that demographic.

Trade dress. Not copyright. And dear god, I think I'm becoming Thaetus. If I ever express interest in going to law school shoot me in the knees.


I would have said that, but I'm going off the Link from the article which claims to fall under Presence Switzerland, which is under the Swiss "Federal Department of Foreign Affairs" and clearly says "in 1986 the Swiss watchmaker Mondaine launched a copyrighted watch and clock collection based on this classic design;" Since I know nothing about Swiss law, I figured I'd defer to the government source rather than adopting the America-centric position of assuming it's the same everywhere.

Then again, maybe the clock face is trade dress and the watch collection is copyright.

/I don't really care.
//Wow, you ARE becoming Theaetetus :D
 
2012-11-13 09:00:50 PM  
Every other source I can find at the moment, even the ones through Google translate to it similarly:

"Der Bahn gehörten die Urheber- und Markenrechte an dem 1944 von Hans Hilfiker entworfenen Konzept, das zum Vorbild für Bahnhofsuhren in ganz Europa wurde"

That's "copyright" und "trademark." Then again, the whole phrase could be a generic for "intellectual property" and lost in translation.

/I'm doing a terrible job of not caring
 
2012-11-13 10:32:05 PM  

ProfessorOhki: Kinek: ProfessorOhki: Almost want to side with Apple here. 68 year old copyright on something that's borderline cultural heritage (or they seem to claim) is pretty BS.

On the other hand, an numeral-less analog clock on a phone? A phone that can just display the time in any number of easy to read digital formats? I'm going to call this $21m a 'hipster pandering tax.' And, let's be honest, that's a hell of a bargain compared to the millage from that demographic.

Trade dress. Not copyright. And dear god, I think I'm becoming Thaetus. If I ever express interest in going to law school shoot me in the knees.

I would have said that, but I'm going off the Link from the article which claims to fall under Presence Switzerland, which is under the Swiss "Federal Department of Foreign Affairs" and clearly says "in 1986 the Swiss watchmaker Mondaine launched a copyrighted watch and clock collection based on this classic design;" Since I know nothing about Swiss law, I figured I'd defer to the government source rather than adopting the America-centric position of assuming it's the same everywhere.

Then again, maybe the clock face is trade dress and the watch collection is copyright.

/I don't really care.
//Wow, you ARE becoming Theaetetus :D


farm5.staticflickr.com
 
2012-11-14 12:44:27 AM  

Theaetetus: farm5.staticflickr.com


i835.photobucket.com
 
2012-11-14 01:27:42 AM  
This might be one of the more fun Apple threads, bravo Theaetetus and ProfessorOhki
 
2012-11-14 02:29:54 AM  
While I think 21 million is a bit excessive I would have to say, considering Apple's current business model of suing the shiat out of everyone for stupid crap, "SUCK IT!"
 
2012-11-14 04:39:08 AM  
Name 5 things different between the two:

1. The Swiss clock has a bezel. The Apple clock has no bezel
2. The Swiss clock hands are trapezoidal. The Apple clock hands are rectangular
3. The Swiss clock minute marks are 25% the length of the hour marks. The Apple clock has a 45% length ratio.
4. The Swiss clock has distinctive writing in the middle of the face and bottom. The Apple clock has no distinctive markings.
5. The Swiss clock time markings are 25% of the length of the hour marks away from the edge of the clock. The Apple clock time markings are about 10% of the length of the hour marks away from the edge of the clock.

Totally different.
 
2012-11-14 04:47:16 AM  

lostsatellite: throw me a farking bone


Using Apple products makes you superior to the hoi polloi.
You are a hipster deity and I salute you!
 
2012-11-14 01:46:55 PM  

Nova81426: Are we not supposed to comment on articles anymore? I'm confused.


Not if you're completely unqualified to do so and not with an air of certainty! Same as regular life, give someone who knows what they're talking about some air time. It's ridiculous for you to say what's "easy" about someone else's highly technical, esoteric work with tons of legal and artistic considerations, without a hint of uncertainty.

I have to deal with it all day at my job and so I'm taking it out on you!
 
2012-11-14 03:11:22 PM  

mccallcl: Nova81426: Are we not supposed to comment on articles anymore? I'm confused.

Not if you're completely unqualified to do so and not with an air of certainty! Same as regular life, give someone who knows what they're talking about some air time. It's ridiculous for you to say what's "easy" about someone else's highly technical, esoteric work with tons of legal and artistic considerations, without a hint of uncertainty.

I have to deal with it all day at my job and so I'm taking it out on you!


Hey man, I'm sorry you have to deal with that kind of stuff. I know what it's like. I'm the director of the UX department at a web development company, and a professor of IT, so I do have some qualifications. Having one guy change a few details on a clock graphic is an hour's work. Easier than getting a bunch of lawyers to negotiate for licensing rights and avoid a lawsuit. They clearly were willing to whatever it takes to use this design. That's all I was saying.

Sincerely, I hope the arseholes at your job give you a break.
 
2012-11-14 03:15:12 PM  

AverageAmericanGuy: Name 5 things different between the two:

1. The Swiss clock has a bezel. The Apple clock has no bezel
2. The Swiss clock hands are trapezoidal. The Apple clock hands are rectangular
3. The Swiss clock minute marks are 25% the length of the hour marks. The Apple clock has a 45% length ratio.
4. The Swiss clock has distinctive writing in the middle of the face and bottom. The Apple clock has no distinctive markings.
5. The Swiss clock time markings are 25% of the length of the hour marks away from the edge of the clock. The Apple clock time markings are about 10% of the length of the hour marks away from the edge of the clock.

Totally different.


The five things discussed by Apple as reasons they probably won't get sued for copying what they obviously copied. The stupid looking red bulb is the give away. They may as well have copied a Mickey Mouse watch.
 
2012-11-14 03:59:58 PM  

Nova81426: Having one guy change a few details on a clock graphic is an hour's work.



Thank you for being nice, I am a grouchy person :)

Changing clock.app is not as expensive as $12MM, but it's definitely not an hour's worth of work, not even close.

First, they would have to decide which things to change. 6-8 people, 6-8 hours. Minimum. In a room, arguing, with the guy who's clock wasn't chosen last time being an asshole about it. Then they would have to craft the new design, mock it up and get approval. This is probably what you're thinking is an hours' work. It's more like 2 days. After that, there's getting the devs to put the new content in the codebase. Depending on which changes are made, this could be instantaneous, or it could be many hours' work (changing the hands = hard, changing the face = easy, adding numbers = hard, changing the ticks = easy). If they decide to add numbers, it will have to be localized into every language iOS supports (about a zillion). If they change the size of the face or the length of the hands, the code to rotate the hands will have to be changed to reflect this. If they change the color of the hands, the shadow will have to be changed to show a hint of that color, or the hands won't look "real". The assets they deliver to devs (or, more likely , wait for devs to request) will have to be in retina and regular format.

Then there's testing, then acceptance testing. We're talking a clock here, so you have to test by looking at it at all different times of the day to make sure it doesn't look weird at 1:13:31:09 AM, etc. Then there's focus grouping, bucket (aka A/B) testing, and some other optional steps that could be skipped, but it's Apple, so they won't be. If one or more of those tests turn up a problem ("the hands, when slightly overlapped, at 12:01, look aliased on the Retina display iPad3 only"), it starts back at one of the other phases I mentioned earlier.

This doesn't take into account accessibility concerns for the vision impaired and other things I'm surely forgetting. If I had to spitball it, I'd say changing the clock, without knowing what will change about it, would take at least two person-weeks of a multi-disciplinary team. Give or take (likely give) a week.

On top of that, there's waiting until there is an update released to actually deploy all this work to the device. This isn't the web, where you can just change old_clock.png to new_clock.png and hit F5. Then, when your legions of haters/stalkers hit the blogs with screenshots of your "ugly" new clock, you can say you make your product worse rather than pay up, and write another apology letter for Slashdot to jerk off onto. Oh, and you can explain that it was "too expensive" to have the best clock you could find. That should go over great.

Wow, that felt good.
 
2012-11-14 04:04:03 PM  

Nova81426: I'm the director of the UX department at a web development company


I would not do your job for all the clocks at Apple. Unqualified, unfocused criticism to prove you are paying attention during a meeting drives me insane, and JAD sessions are full of it.
 
2012-11-14 04:38:59 PM  

mccallcl: Nova81426: Having one guy change a few details on a clock graphic is an hour's work.


Thank you for being nice, I am a grouchy person :)

Changing clock.app is not as expensive as $12MM, but it's definitely not an hour's worth of work, not even close...


You're right, I was being a little glib with the "hour's work" comment. The process you describe is how one would expect the process to go, and it's similar to how we do it where I work too. And yeah, it's a pain and it takes forever sometimes. But I have a good team, and we rarely have to meet with large amounts of people outside of our department. We have designers meeting about design things, not businessmen. It's really very nice.

At Apple, teams are very small. I'm not sure if it's still true (or really, was ever true), but a while back I read that iOS is maintained entirely by 16 people. They all report(ed) to Scott Forstall. That cuts out a lot of the red tape out. They also don't do focus groups. Often times, apps will be maintained by one single person, who simply has to get changes approved by their team leader (Forstall). I'm not sure if that's the case for the iPad clock app, but it's true for some more complex apps.

I'm guessing that, reasonably, it'd be done in a week (not counting the wait to deploy). I could be wrong, like you said, native app development is a little different than web development. But, we do agree that, money-wise, it'd be cheaper than licensing, that's for sure. But, there's also the opportunity cost to consider. What are they not working on in order to fix this stupid clock? In any case, I retract my use of the word "easier", since that seems to be too subjective.

And besides, this is a really trivial thing to be getting all worked up about anyway. It seems like you felt a lot better after that second to last post, so if you want to keep on going, be my guest. I'm not taking it personally.
 
2012-11-14 04:54:43 PM  

Nova81426: And besides, this is a really trivial thing to be getting all worked up about anyway.


It's cumulative. Thanks for giving me a chance to vent. I didn't know so few people maintained iOS, that is interesting news.
 
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