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No, no, no you guys don't understand. This is not a cheap rip-off. It's an homage and the Swiss will be honoured that their famous clock has been elevated to the high-art status of Apple design and innovation. The critical eye of an average iPhone user will appreciate the fine craftsmanship & precision of the painstaking work that went into translating the iconic clock into an exact digital replica.



Sorry, I don't understand the satire here. It sounds like you're mimicking the response to claims that Apple stole designs from Braun? But the two situations are nothing alike -- cribbing industrial design elements from defunct products is a far cry from duplicating a trademarked image more or less exactly.

It seems more likely you're trying to dig on Apple for going thermonuclear on trade dress while at the same time stealing somebody else's intellectual property. In which case you have it backwards, and the satire here should be something about how Apple has no right copying someone else's hard work just to make a quick buck, and that a numberless clock face with highly contrasting colors seems obvious now only because they went to so much effort to work it out.

Except that's not very funny, because it's exactly right. I doubt if even the most hardcore Apple fanatics would argue SBB doesn't at least have a case. So they'll sue, and Apple might pay a license fee, or change the clock, or argue that the clock has some reason for not being a valid trademark or infringing.

And my only question is, if that case goes to trial and SBB wins and Apple has to stop shipping that clock face and pay some compensation, will HN fill up with satirical posts ranting about how you can't copyright a minimal clock face in white, black and red, how this judgment is anticompetitive, stifling to innovation and will surely be thrown out in a higher court very soon now, how much an indictment it is of the copyright system in general?

Because that would be a funny joke. Seriously, this community has been weird about Apple of late.

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People probably feel that it is hypocritical to sue one company for copying your designs, and then turn around and copy designs off someone else, especially when they happen right a few months apart.

Personally, my moral compass immediately feels that this is worse than just plain copying, and I assume that is why people are reacting with a stronger anti-Apple sentiment here.

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This is a digression, but I have trouble with the idea of hypocrisy in general. It's difficult for me to conceive that, morally, espousing wrong beliefs and adhering to them in one's personal life is better than espousing wrong beliefs while at least doing the right thing oneself.

(Assuming the people who made these decisions have any interaction with each other:) If intellectual property is well grounded, Apple is right to defend their own, but wrong to copy others'. If it is not, they are wrong to defend their own, but justified in using others'. Yes, they are wrong in either case, but tu quoque is the sorry refuge taken to avoid having to admit that they are also right in either.

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Hypocrisy is the antithesis of the golden rule, which is why I tend to have a problem with it.

It's not anything that automatically refutes someones arguments, it just tells me that when it comes to that subject, they're an asshole. And when someone is being an asshole, I just don't care about their arguments.

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The problem with hypocrisy in general is that when combined with the human propensity for pattern matching and abstract generalization, if you think hard enough everyone becomes a hypocrite.

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Well, everyone is a hypocrite to a certain degree. It's the degree in which they're hypocritical which can be a problem.

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>And when someone is being an asshole, I just don't care about their arguments.

But that's too bad. Better to do what a hypocrite proposes if it's the right thing, than to ignore it because of what he does.

Here's a nice article on the topic:

There are many reasons a charge of hypocrisy might be reactionary and counter-productive. First of all, the hypocrisy mindset pays too much attention to people's personal lives and too little to their programmatic or ideological outlook. If someone is a visionary, or is trying to solve a widespread problem, it's likely that his personal life will reflect the problem whereas his policies will reflect the solution. It would then be pretty stupid to accuse him of saying one thing and doing another -- especially if everyone were pretty much in the same boat, at least until an alternative infrastructure is set up. A charge of hypocrisy might well be a pre-emptive strike designed to stymie future solutions to universal problems.

Consistency is the hobgoblin of petty minds. Wanting things to be less complex, and wanting people and societies to be without internal contradictions is understandable, but small-minded. It ignores the fact that it is often only by sinning ourselves that we can learn exactly why sinning is bad. At a certain point we are all saying one thing and doing another. This is, apart from anything else, a sure sign of our complexity, and of our capacity to rise above our current way of living and search for alternatives, no matter how deeply we're mired. Allow it, brothers!

We often strike down people with a spotted reputation only to replace them with people who are unapologetically evil. We hate to be preached at so much that we ignore the sermons we need to hear and prefer unalloyed corruption. At least it's consistent, right? At least there's no hypocrisy there! At least change is taken off the agenda! Thank Christ "hypocrisy" has absolved us of the need to feel wrong, and to make a painful change!

There are 100 people in a room, all doing A Bad Thing. They know it's a bad thing, a thing that will damage the room and everyone in it, but they can't stop. Suddenly a Visionary makes a powerful and moving speech. "We must stop doing The Bad Thing!" he says. His speech is effective: everyone stops. Except the Visionary himself, who keeps doing it. This, however, is a minor detail: the room is a better, safer place. Instead of 100 people doing The Bad Thing, only one is doing it. Suddenly a Commentator gets up. "Suckers!" he shouts. "You've stopped doing The Bad Thing, but the man who made you stop still does it! You've been had... by a hypocrite!" Soon everyone in the room is doing The Bad Thing again.

But tell me, please, who has damaged the room more, the Visionary or the Commentator? Who has the best chance of helping the room?

etc: http://imomus.livejournal.com/362894.html

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An assessment of the morality of hypocrisy, as with lying, cannot ignore the motivation of the hypocrite (or liar). It's one thing if a fat person shares diet secrets with you. That is along the lines of someone who is a great coach but can't play. I wouldn't throw the label of hypocite at that person.

But it's quite another thing if someone tries to convince you to behave one way while s/he secretly behaves differently- and it is to his/her personal benefit and (perhaps) to your detriment to do so.

For example, if somebody makes a 'moral' claim that all feezos should be in the public domain in order to convince others to donate their efforts, but that person makes a best-in-class feezo based on all the others' work and doesn't release it into the public domain, that person is a hypocrite with bad motivation. I don't like those people. I don't excuse those people. Any public good that comes of it is likely accidental, although I am sure they will try to convince you otherwise.

So I agree with sbov with the following addition: I don't care about the hypocrite's arguments of persuasion. I won't throw out a good idea just because it comes from a hypocrite. But I won't believe it's a good idea just because the hypocrite says so even if the hypocrite is an expert in the area being discussed. I will seek other ways to validate his claim. And yes, I know, we should always do this, so I can state this a different way: I won't use the hypocrite to validate a claim.

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This is a great post. I've been listening to the podcast "Back To Work" and Merlin has a similar view:

>"I think the concern of hypocrisy keeps us small. It keeps our world small, it keeps our horizons limited, and it keeps our self-worth as low as it can conceivably go. Because we’re defining ourselves in large part by what other people claim that we are. When the truth is, we’re all a goddamn mess. [...] The people who obsess most about hypocrisy are the people who are least willing to change. They have the least room to change. If you set yourself up as this paragon of perfection, then you have a lot to lose by being shown as anything but 100%. But, like, once you allow yourself to be imperfect in this weird wabi-sabi way, your world gets a lot bigger."

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Sounds like the end result could have been avoided had the "visionary" simply not been hypocritical and avoided doing "a bad thing".

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Yes, and it also could have been avoided if everybody paid more attention to what is beneficial for them (i.e what the visionary said) than to what the visionary does or does not.

You just gave a perfect example of the narrow minded logic explained in the article, that cares not what is good for them to do, but if the guy that advocates it is "consistent".

Not to mention the other three paragraphs I quoted, that explain why "avoiding being hypocritical" is not always possible.

To put it in very crude way, if you see a beaten-down meth addict telling you "just say no to meth", I'd say DO listen to him, even if he's doing it.

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>To put it in very crude way, if you see a beaten-down meth addict telling you "just say no to meth", I'd say DO listen to him, even if he's doing it. //

Practically the problem with this is that unless you know the right thing to do before hand then you can't determine the right thing to do. The hypocrite does one thing and instructs you not to do that thing (or to do another instead) - but by their actions they're showing, rightly or wrongly, that the thing they're counselling against is something they've chosen [to some extent] for themselves.

In the case of the meth addict you assume that they're being helpful because you assume (barring personal wisdom on the matter) that meth is bad, m'kay. But perhaps they just want to keep all the lovely, lovely meth for themselves??

If a person espouses a universal good - avoiding meth is good for everyone. Or if that person espouses a personal good without explaining why it doesn't apply to them - avoiding meth is good for you. But still that person acts opposite to that they espouse - eg take meth. Then they're acting contrary to what they state will be to their benefit.

You can't trust such a person. Either they act in ways that they know are detrimental or they are lying to you about the benefits available by following their actions.

So you can't trust a hypocrites testimony nor can you - without outside knowledge - learn what actions are best to take solely from their testimony.

Coming back to the case in hand. Is it wrong to copy someone's design? We can't tell if Apple Corp consider it wrong or right. All we know is that they're untrustworthy. Then they use legal process to punish someone for allegedly copying a design whilst on the other hand copying a design and show that they're willing to act to the detriment of others who follow their lead. It's kinda hypocrisy+plus: not only do we say not to do that which we do but we'll punish you for doing that which we do.

>narrow minded logic explained in the article, that cares not what is good for them to do, but if the guy that advocates it is "consistent" //

Whatever a hypocrite advocates is basically irrelevant. One should discard their testimony about the good of an action and use outside sources/testimony to establish independently the nature of any good that can be derived by following their instruction. A hypocrite though, as you appear to contend, would be a valid source of ideas just not a sound source of wisdom (ie take their idea but don't follow it without independently examining it).

E&OE

tl;dr don't trust a hypocrite

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>Practically the problem with this is that unless you know the right thing to do before hand then you can't determine the right thing to do. The hypocrite does one thing and instructs you not to do that thing (or to do another instead) - but by their actions they're showing, rightly or wrongly, that the thing they're counselling against is something they've chosen [to some extent] for themselves.

Yes, this is where THINKING comes in.

First step, stop caring about anything specific about the person that gave you the advice, and only consider the advice.

Second step, try to think if it's good advice, in itself. If it is, follow it.

The guy being a hypocrite or not should not come into play at all. Neither should trust.

You should not follow some advice because you trust the guy who suggested it to you. You should follow it because you evaluated it.

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Part of the process of evaluating advice is evaluating the credibility of the one who gave the advice.

In particular, if a person's behavior or circumstances conflict with the advice, it becomes important to evaluate why that conflict exists. Is the advice fundamentally sound and there's something wrong with the advice-giver, or is the problem with the advice itself? There may be some subtle implementation detail that you overlook in your theoretical "ignore the person" evaluation, which is actually a fatal flaw with the advice (for example, it may require an unrealistic amount of discipline to undertake.)

Likewise, if a person's advice and their behavior/circumstances match up, it's important to evaluate whether the advice is actually effective. Did this person see this result because of the advice, or because of something else? It's possible the advice is fundamentally sound; likewise, it's possible the advice is a mistaken conclusion based on coincidence. If the person giving the advice is known to be insightful, self-examining, etc. that suggests a greater likelihood of the advice being valuable.

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>You should not follow some advice because you trust the guy who suggested it to you. //

Ish.

If the person is a domain expert (or probably just 'more likely than you to know about it') and you are not and you have other reasons, past experience perhaps, then trusting their advice with little analysis (beyond eg 'was it a joke') is pragmatic. One can't analyse everything there is simply not enough time.

At some point you must trust others or suffer. It's about balance n'est ce pas?

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You're meth example is not the same thing. The meth user's meth usage does not effect the person he tells not to use meth. Well, maybe there's something to be said about the societal issues.

In the room example it is stated the bad thing affects everyone in the room to some detriment. Even though the visionary got everyone to stop, the eventual outcome is the detrimental one since the visionary keeps doing the bad thing. Therefore, in the end it doesn't matter if one of them or all of them does the bad thing. So, the fact that the visionary was a hypocrite has doomed them all. Only when the visionary is not a hypocrite can they all be saved. I believe the bad thing in a room is not a good example of the point to be made. This is more about the potential stupidity of groups of people following leaders (visionary and commentator both) without thinking for themselves. The best thing for the self-interest of the people involved was to individually decide to leave the room.

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>In the room example it is stated the bad thing affects everyone in the room to some detriment. Even though the visionary got everyone to stop, the eventual outcome is the detrimental one since the visionary keeps doing the bad thing.

No, it's not the detrimental one at all. 1 person doing a bad thing (e.g farting in a room) is not at all the same as 100 persons doing a bad thing (e.g farting in a room).

>Therefore, in the end it doesn't matter if one of them or all of them does the bad thing. So, the fact that the visionary was a hypocrite has doomed them all.

No, it's their giving importance not to the idea of doing the good thing but to the consistency of the visionary that doomed them all. That's the whole point of the article.

>Only when the visionary is not a hypocrite can they all be saved.

No, they can also be saved if they STOP being obsessed with consistency in the visionary, and instead evaluate the visionary's ideas _in themselves_ and in how they benefit them all.

>The best thing for the self-interest of the people involved was to individually decide to leave the room.

In that thought experiment, as in lots of situations in life, there is no "leaving the room". Say, the room is earth, and the visionary is some early ecologist. If someone finds out that he doesn't recycle it shouldn't translate to "oh, hypocrisy, we shouldn't recycle either".

It would much better translate to: "Hmm, the guy doesn't do what he preaches, but we will continue doing it because it does good. He is a hypocrite, but, hey, at least the guy told us about the necessity of doing this thing in the first place, something we haven't figured at the time.".

But that's not a knee-jerk reaction, so it is too much to ask from some people.

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Well, now you're changing things around with the thought experiment to support your point.

It was stated that the bad thing damages the room and the people in it as well; I took this to mean physical damage possibly leading to death because otherwise it doesn't make any sense. Therefore, with the two options that we are apparently forced into, the group is doomed regardless. It's only a matter of time. I say forced into two options because of the artificial restriction that the people cannot leave the room, which was not stated in the original explanation. Another out would be for the group to kill the visionary once he started back to doing the bad thing, remember that this damages them, which showed he could not be trusted and did not care for the well-being of the other people in the room. Is that not an option as well? In the end, the only choice the people had to fit their best interests was to leave the room, unless you can justify the murder of the visionary. But you took that away and I'm led to believe that they have no other options, so in the end they are all doomed regardless of either choice they go with.

Changing the rules, or adding new rules as I respond, to change the thought experiment is not a good way to invalidate my conclusion. For instance, equating a room with the Earth doesn't work for me, that's different situations with different potential outcomes with different options. The bad thing in a room thought experiment, as presented, is simply a bad example if there are only two options allowed.

Now, if we're talking about a situation you are describing, where the outcome is not damaging to the people involved, except for maybe their sanity, then I can somewhat agree with what you're saying.

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It's not hypocrisy if you try to live up to your ideals and fail. It's hypocrisy when you tell others to live up to your ideals, but you don't bother yourself.

Also, you're assuming that a charge of hypocrisy automatically means the idea is voided. It's not - a charge of hypocrisy is an accusation of a serious character flaw.

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>Also, you're assuming that a charge of hypocrisy automatically means the idea is voided. It's not - a charge of hypocrisy is an accusation of a serious character flaw.

I'm not assuming it's some general law. I know that it happens in lots of real life situations.

E.g people throwing the baby (idea) along with the bathwater (hypocrite).

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And this counterfactual example has what, exactly, to do with real life?

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Your example is a pretty artificial one when considering hypocrisy in the real world. Sure, it could theoretically happen, but it's not a particularly common situation when talking about hypocrisy.

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I think hypocrisy is used most often when there's no consensus whether some beliefs are bad, and supporters of one view use hypocrisy of supporters of the other to make an argument.

When someone says "murdering people is OK" and then doesn't murder - nobody is going to accuse him of hypocrisy ;)

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It's not. Saying that everyone should murder (all the time), and not doing it, would be hypocrisy. But yeah, you're right. People would probably be distracted by the whole "murder" thing.

Even if there's no consensus on whether some beliefs are good or bad, such as in politics, doesn't hypocrisy show some sort of "character flaw" in the perpetrator? It's dishonest to push views you don't hold yourself, or rules you don't even try to live by.

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Yeah, my bad, your example is better.

Regarding showing dishonesty - yes, but "supporters of X are dishonest" is "ad personam" - that's poor argument.

Better to use hypocrisy to show "even supporters of X don't really believe their view is right, so it probably isn't".

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>Better to use hypocrisy to show "even supporters of X don't really believe their view is right, so it probably isn't".

Still, not a good argument.

Their view could be right, whether they do really believe it or not.

E.g a politician could say "don't steal", and he could be stealing himself. That he is hypocritical about it, doesn't mean stealing is "probably" right.

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Many people accused Hitler in hypocrisy. Then he killed itself.

Sorry, it's a horrible and non-factual joke. But your theory is still wrong. There is consensus in society that racism is bad and racist with friends of other race is a classical example of hypocrisy. And if by lack of consensus you mean existence of other view then murdering example is wrong because it suppose lack of consensus and your theory is tautology.

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If someone thinks of himself as racist, then he probably don't think racism is bad, so there's no consensus.

EDIT: eh, I've read your post again and I'm wrong, you're right, it's the same situation.

But is racist with with friends of other races really classical example of hypocrisy? I hadn't encountered it (but I live in monocultural country).

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>But is racist with with friends of other races really classical example of hypocrisy? I hadn't encountered it

He probably means the classic "I'm not racist, I have black friends and all, but blacks in general do [this and that]".

Which is often considered a classic example of hypocrisy but I don't think it is. In a lot of cases it's not even racism.

E.g a guy could have Mexican friends (in the US or Mexico) but be against mexican illegal immigrants.

This is often taken to mean he is racist, but in actuality he is against illegal immigration, not against a race in general (he might consider that low end jobs are numbered, or that wages in those jobs are getting lower due to increased competition from illegal immigrants, or that lots of hungry, unemployed opportunity seekers from Mexico could resort to crime to feed themselves etc).

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Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but knowing what you're doing is really a black mark against you.

Hypocrisy implies a blatantly willful action. It also obliterates your argument. It is arguing against your own case.

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The morality of an individual or organization is determined by:

1. What they do 2. What they say

And in that order. For politicians and celebrities with a large audience, it's possible that what they say matters more than what they do for the global good. However, the actions an individual takes can wipe out a legacy of saying the right thing.

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The big distinction that seems to be getting missed is that Apple isn't selling wall clocks with this design. So they aren't remotely competing with the designs that they 'copy' from.

Samsung is copying Apple, arguably intentionally, to create directly competing products.

This is a very different thing.

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Nice reframing there. The Mondaine clockface isn't just used in wall clocks.

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I'm not saying Apple is right. I'm saying the contexts are wildly different. They probably ought to cough up some sort of fee, or change if the designers don't want them to use it.

But one face on one app of a multifunction device is simply not the same as aping a plurality of features and designs of a competing device.

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Phones compete with watches though.

Personally, I don't really care about people making knockoff Mondaine watches, I just find this funny and feel it is that peculiar form of justice that is generally known as "live by the sword, die by the sword".

Is like cannibals being left to their own devices till they get bored and eat each other.

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I'd go so far as to say that phones compete with watches and physical clocks. I personally can't stand to wear a watch, and I almost always have an electronic device on my person. I don't even own a traditional clock anymore.

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'Apple makes digital copy of physical clock' ... "Is like cannibals being left to their own devices till they get bored and eat each other."

That escalated quickly.

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I think it's interesting to note (as the article does), that Apple has attacked other parties for "paying homage" to the looks of the Apple clocks. I personally think these two clocks are different enough, but if I'm the owner of that Swiss trademark, you can bet I'm suing, before Apple comes after me for using their design!

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Do you not see a difference between a concerted effort to copy by multiple parties, with meetings and documents circulating which basically say "This is what we should copy," vs potentially one or two designers alone copying something which is not recognized as a trademark to anyone but an expert in European clock design?

I'm both a Swiss Modern design nut and lover of clocks. I not only didn't recognize the clock as specifically Swiss, although it has that look, I had no idea it was a copyrighted design.

Chances are very low that a manager at Apple would notice what I didn't.

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>People probably feel that it is hypocritical to sue one company for copying your designs, and then turn around and copy designs off someone else, especially when they happen right a few months apart.

Only those two are in totally unrelated fields, namely some railway clock and a mobile phone.

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the satire here should be something about how Apple has no right copying someone else's hard work just to make a quick buck, and that a numberless clock face with highly contrasting colors seems obvious now only because they went to so much effort to work it out.

There's nothing satirical about that. It's pretty obvious this is about perceived hypocrisy on Apple's part. Apple sues for trade dress violations and has now been caught for reproducing someone else's design. It acted against what it perceived as a crime against itself and yet committed the same crime. Simple hypocrisy, aka moral inconsistency in actions - nothing weird about it.

If SBB wins, the natural response will be to nod and say Apple got its just deserts. Some people will argue these designs shouldn't be copyrightable in the first place, but that's a separate criticism and does not invalidate the point of hypocrisy in the first place.

(Does it really surprise you that some in the community aren't happy about Apple's win over the patents?)

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> There's nothing satirical about that. It's pretty obvious this is about perceived hypocrisy on Apple's part.

That's what I'm saying. This is pretty clear-cut. There's going to be a lawsuit. It's definitely ironic, and maybe a bit hypocritical, but when does it get actually funny?

Aside from the fact that it's IP infringement, this doesn't have a lot to do with the Samsung suit, and it doesn't even have that to do with Braun, which is whence the concept of "homage" enters the Apple lexicon. So where be the satire here?

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Hypocrisy and irony are funny. It's pretty much standard practice to ridicule hypocrites (see pretty much every issue of The Onion). If someone criticizes an action and then does that very thing or worse, people lampoon him. I don't know what you find so perplexing about that.

The grandparent poster was satirizing Apple's hypocrisy, not the state of design patent/trade dress laws. The satire was not about those laws being too strong. It was about how Apple says one thing but does another.

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I'm not sure the SBB will sue Apple. Their relationship is a little bit more complex than mere two unrelated companies:

Some context: The iPhone has a huge penetration rate in Switzerland (2.9 million devices sold for a population of 8 million people). Switzerland also has very good public transportation, held together by the train system of the SBB. And therefore, almost every iPhone user has the SBB Mobile App installed (http://itunes.apple.com/ch/app/sbb-mobile/id294855237?mt=8), 60-80% from what I heard. Which would put the install base to 1.5 to 2 million installations.

The elephant in the room is now this: Within this app, you are able to buy tickets. Train tickets, bus tickets, boat tickets. Not via in-app purchases, everything goes through the SBB ticketing system.

This has been working for three years now. Apple never blocked the app, despite it being in violation of some of the more prominent rules of the App Store.

My sources within SBB claim that there is no special agreement in place, mere toleration by Apple. I don't know if that's true, but one thing is for certain: The SBB has little interest of fighting with Apple on this front.

And Apple might not want to alienate such a huge user base, who would probably feel more loyalty to the SBB than to Apple, but that's pure speculation on my part.

On the other hand is the SBB fiercly proud of their design achievments, the clock in particular. Maybe that part of the SBB company (30 000 employees) doesn't care about electronic ticketing and will pursue Apple anyway.

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In-App purchases are for digital goods only (Content, Functionality, Services, Subscriptions). You are completely free to sell real/physical goods (ie. a train ticket) via your own payment system.

https://developer.apple.com/appstore/in-app-purchase/In-App-...

"You must deliver your digital good or service within your app. Do not use In-App Purchase to sell real-world goods and services."

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It amazes me how many people continue to misunderstand App Store rules and quote bullshit on a daily basis.

In-App Purchasing rules apply to purchasing books in an e-reader, levels in a video game, or music in a player, etc.

It doesn't apply at all to real-world items. (This includes something like train tickets via Passbook because they are not consumed in the app, they are consumed by the train conductor scanning your phone.)

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Oh, I wasn't aware of this distinction.

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Has Apple ever cracked down on apps that allow the purchase of physical things for not using in-App purchases?

IIRC the only time this has gotten sticky, is when it comes to apps that allow users to buy access to more content that is accessed by that app. (e.g. buying new issues of digital magazines, buying access to new in-game content, buying new ebooks, buying new digital music, etc)

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Are there any public transport companies that sell tickets as in-app purchases?

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> cribbing industrial design elements from defunct products

Here in Switzerland you see clocks like these in pretty much every train station. I wouldn't call it exactly a "defunct" product. Mondaine sells this same design in a variety of products: just do a google image search and you will see some of those.

...and it's not that SBB is suing apple over the concept of a "numberless clock face with highly contrasting colors". They just look exactly the same. And when that's the case, I guess there's not much one can say.

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And the funny thing is

Mondaine clocks may be good for a train station, where they are meant to be read at a distance, by people with less than 20/20 vision

But it doesn't present any real advantage on an iPhone

Too much skeumorphism again

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1. Clocks are fashion accessories, too. That is why http://www.mondaine.com/mondaine-watches/ sells watches with the clock's face.

2. I guess many people will try and read the clock while not wearing glasses

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So people here are trying to compare this with Apple vs Samsung, but that's apples to oranges.

SBB does not claim copyright or a design patent (although to increase their chances they might claim that too). Instead SBB claims that the clock design is their trademark.

This would be similar to Samsung putting the famous bitten apple on Galaxy phones.

And the problem with trademarks is that if you don't defend it, you lose it. It's not like with patents or copyrights were you can ignore infringement or selectively sue companies, depending on how much money you can milk.

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This sounds like it would likely be a Trademark infringement suit, which would be expected. Trademarks, if unprotected can lose their value. Having showing it on 100+ million of your devices should meet that requirement.

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Hey, Apple went after a freaking groceries store for using the Apl name in some other country. If they can do that, I think the watch company can and should go after Apple for doing this. And yes, this is shameless hypocrisy.

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I can't downvote you. But I think that this is a prime example of the snarky comments that people are complaining about that are hurting HN's comment quality.

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I absolutely agree. And I let myself sink to a bit of a troll here; but I don't expect much meaningful discussion can be had on this particular topic so I allowed myself (perhaps undeservedly) to express my indignation in a rather toxic way.

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The way that snarky comments can hurt the community is by hurting people's feelings and making people feel reluctant to show off what they're up to. "Show HN" posts in particular are one of the coolest things about HN, and if people feel like they're going to get torn open just for putting themselves out there, they are unlikely to do so.

So there's nothing intrinsically wrong about snarky comments. It's when the snarky comments are targeted at individuals undeserving of such harshness that there's a problem.

If someone makes a "Show HN" post, and you think their work is incompetent, or that the problem they're solving isn't important, that doesn't excuse being snarky at them.

If, on the other hand, they have blatantly ripped off someone else's work, snarkiness would be fine (assuming you have damned good reason to believe that they did so intentionally, and that they did not ask permission).

We should be happy to make people worry about unethical behavior here before posting, because the ethics of your behavior can usually be assessed by introspection. We should not make people think twice about their work being incompetent before posting, because competence cannot easily be judged through introspection. Only by actually posting and seeing constructive feedback will someone be able to know how they can improve.

Of course, this applies to more than Show HN posts; people who read HN can also have their work posted by other people. The point is that we don't really need to worry about hurting Apple's feelings over blatantly ripping off someone else's work.

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One man's snarky comment is another man's sarcastic wit.

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Only when the comment is indeed intended to be a sarcasm. If you want to mark the comment sarcasm you have plenty of methods, e.g. </sarcasm>.

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For years and years writers have been able to employ sarcasm and dark wit without resorting to blatant labels tipping off the reader, "Joke ahead!"

Why now is this linguistic bludgeon required?

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When I read your comment I agreed. After reading the many comments down-thread which missed rather obvious sarcasm, I reluctantly disagree.

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I hate to be all "in the old days", but, really, threads on HN didn't used to be full of snark and jokes, which obviated this problem. I miss that.

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Perhaps we should all start assuming that any blunt, snarky comment is really meant as a piss-take. E.g., if you read "Apple is a bunch of blatant design thieves", assume that no one could intend that at face value, so it's really facetious joking meant to express the opposite.

We'll all feel a lot better, and the blunt and snarky will realize that their posts are having the reverse effect expected.

OK, well, we'll at least all feel better.

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Because most people don't have the ability to write clearly enough to express their intent, and also because there are so many literal minded people out there. Labels and smileys serve the same purpose as laugh tracks on TV programmes, they tell the stupid how to react.

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Snarky comments have always existed on HN. Whether they are downvoted or upvoted is up to the community.

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I think you spelled "sarcasm" wrong...

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+1 great sarcasm. Apple is allowed to 'borrow' good ideas but not other companies.

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In Steve's words, this is a great "steal".

They probably thought the clock company should feel honored about it. I would like to see their faces now.

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Remember the time Tim cook said, that Apple cannot be the developer for the whole world?

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Please let the Swiss speak for themselves as to whether they are honored or offended by this. There's nothing more annoying than having somebody else tell you how to feel about something.

For my part (and I'm Swiss, for what it's worth) I appreciate the homage; though I fully understand SBB/CFF's need to protect the trademark. These clocks in Switzerland are iconic and immediately associated with the SBB/CFF. Much like Apple needs to protect its trademark & trade dress in order to remain full owner, SBB/CFF must protect its design.

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except it doesn't have the pause for 1.5 seconds at the 12 o'clock position... hardly a good copy

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Does the original clock pause? If so, why?

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There is an explanation in the Wikipedia article about the clock (written yesterday). The reason is to give some extra time to close the doors, and to also give the clocks a bit of more room to synchronize with the central clock.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_railway_clock

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Ah, thank you, I just read that not a minute ago from another poster's answer. It didn't mention the doors, though.

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Wow, so the trains don't run on time, so they make the time run on the trains?

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Not really. The second hand takes 58.5 second to move the entire circle at constant speed if I recall correctly. Then it stops for 1.5 seconds before it starts moving again. During that 1.5 second pause you close the doors of the trains. So it is more a method of synching the closing of the doors with the clock rather than actually gaining any time.

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Serious question, if the Railway company was a government institution when the design was released, is the design not in the public domain?

Nowadays, it seems they're quasi-governmental, but back then I think they were strictly a national org. It'd be like DARPA trying to get royalties on the internet or something similar. I could be wrong in this line of thinking, of course.

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In the USA maybe, but in many (most?) countries government organizations can hold copyrights and trademarks.

For the record, the Department Of Defense frequently applied for new patents, many which I presume come from DARPA research.

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Government entities can and often do own intellectual property - patents, trademarks, copyrights - and regularly defend them.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_New_York for one famous example.

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While this is true, there are bounds of I (heart) something_somethings and AFAIK, NYC does not go after them for infringement (I feel as though Apple's rendition is sufficiently different that it's not the same as the orig (hand lengths, motion, etc). Moreover, in the NYC case, I (heart) NY is trademarked and part of an advert campaign, so I can understand their defence of their TM. Did The Swiss RR get a design patent for the timepiece?

So, while you are right about the ability of a gov to register and/or patent things, I'm surprised they'd be willing to follow through. It's not as though Apple is trying to make money off of them by selling a knock off product or piggybacking on an advert campaign.

Good point none the less and thanks for the explanation.

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Yes, actually NYC (well, NY State Dept. of Economic Development) constantly goes after people for infringement of the "I heart NY" logo. They definitely do follow through.

It's not about money being made, it's a legal necessity that a trademark owner needs to actively defend the mark in order to keep it.

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Right, of course. I meant you could have a "J' (heart) Bruxelles" in the same design and not get sued, so long as Brussells hadn't had that TMed. At least I'd hope not.

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You could probably expect to get a C&D letter from NY State for designing a logo like that. At least, plenty of other people have. Google for "i heart nyc trademark infringement" and read the top few links. Apparently they have sent out over 3000 such requests since registering the mark.

Sometimes the claims of infringement are upheld, sometimes not. The more important thing, legally, is that NY needs to show that they are actively defending the mark to prevent trademark dilution.

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In order to keep it to what purpose? To make money.

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if the Railway company was a government institution when the design was released, is the design not in the public domain?

In the USA, the government cannot have copyright and everything is in the public domain. This is not the case in many other countries.

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> In the USA, the government cannot have copyright and everything is in the public domain. This is not the case in many other countries.

This is an overly broad statement. Federal government agencies in the USA can hold copyright in certain situations, and the rule doesn't apply to state or local government.

This is a really interesting page that lists ways that the government can own copyrighted works.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_status_of_work_by_the...

(Also the design that Apple lifted is trademarked, not copyright, but that's a different issue).

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If this was in the US, you could well be correct. In Switzerland, the law is quite likely to be different. It's not uncommon for Governments to have specific copyright rules in non-US jurisdictions (See e.g. Crown copyright[1] used in the UK, Canada, etc.)

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_copyright

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Tell that to the guys at Australia's CSIRO who just won some global WiFi patent actions.

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The railway company is only licensing the design from another company though.

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One man's theft is another man's anonymous homage.

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So, will Samsung now sue Apple for allegedly copying a Samsung business method?

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hahaha, I'm sure every company loves to have a good double-edged sword. Honestly, I think it's different enough, but in the same way I think Samsung products are different enough. Take you pick which way you want it Apple...

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Misguided sarcasm. It is indeed a homage.

1) Apple didn't copy the design to make it's own clock rip-off. It is for a very tiny part of their original product.

2) Apple didn't copy the design to sell more iPhones.

3) The design is famous. It's not like Apple sneakily copied it thinking no one will notice.

4) It's a common "click of the eye" gesture to design-savvy public, like their basing their podcast app to classic 60's design, etc.

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4) It's a common "click of the eye" gesture to design-savvy public, like their basing their podcast app to classic 60's design, etc.

Or it is just another case of Skeuomorphism gone wild. Not everybody who pays attention to design likes that kind of thing and appreciating it isn't making someone "design-savvy" either.

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3) The design is famous. It's not like Apple sneakily copied it thinking no one will notice.

So why didn't they license it?

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It seems to me that a lot of people on HN are assuming that this design is an intentional rip-off. It's entirely possible that whoever did the icon didn't realize that they had seen a clock like that before and thus didn't realize they might infringe on someone else's trademark.

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That's really unlikely. Those clocks are famous, especially among the types of people who would be in charge of designing a clock at Apple.

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Indeed. I don't know much about the designer subculture, but there are a bunch of "iconic" industrial designs that they (should) know about. Another famous one is the IBM wall clock: http://vimeo.com/40953003 (one of the Windows clock gadgets is obviously inspired by it).

(Disclaimer: I am not an Apple fan.) As for the design itself, there is the blatant copying of the seconds hand, but otherwise it seems whoever did it took some care to differentiate the apple clock from the original. E.g. how the lengths of the hour and minute hands relate to the radius of the clock and the size of the hour and minute tick marks. Then of course there are obvious implications of being viewed on a tiny 4" screen. Whether that is enough to build a legal defense on, I have no idea.

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They should just license it. I think all the people who are saying it's analogous to the Apple/Samsung debacle are reaching though. No one is going to walk into a store with the intent of buying a Mondaine watch and leave with an iPhone instead.

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No, but it's very likely that would-be customers will now look at Mondaine watches and say "how cheap; they just copied the iPhone!"

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