Despite what may be happening in the United States, back in July Samsung won a court battle against Apple in the United Kingdom that said Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs did not — does not — copy Apple’s iPad. As part of the victory, UK Judge Colin Birss ordered Apple to issue public apologies to Samsung, to clear up any confusion consumers may have that Samsung copied Apple.
Apple, of course, appealed Birss’s order but was eventually told it must issue public statements in regards to Samsung not copying Apple. Apple then proceeded to post a public statement on its website in typical corporate style, admitting that they [Apple] lost the court battle but used the opportunity to praise their products:
High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. [...]
In the ruling, the judge made several important points comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products:
“The extreme simplicity of the Apple design is striking. Overall it has undecorated flat surfaces with a plate of glass on the front all the way out to a very thin rim and a blank back. There is a crisp edge around the rim and a combination of curves, both at the corners and the sides. The design looks like an object the informed user would want to pick up and hold. It is an understated, smooth and simple product. It is a cool design.”
“The informed user’s overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool.” [...]
Further, in the posting on its website, Apple mentioned how other jurisdictions came to different rulings on the same matter:
[...] However, in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design. A U.S. jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple’s design and utility patents, awarding over one billion U.S. dollars in damages to Apple Inc. So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple’s far more popular iPad.
Samsung felt this “apology” by Apple is “inaccurate and misleading” and does not comply with the court’s order. Samsung also proclaimed that by mentioning the German court rulings, Apple “has created the impression that the UK court is out of step with other courts”. UK Court of Appeal in London has agreed with Samsung and has told Apple to take down the current statement and replace it with a better apology within 48 hours. Judge Robin Jacob said:
I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order.
Apple itself must (having created the confusion) make the position clear: that it acknowledges that the court has decided that that these Samsung products do not infringe its registered design.
The acknowledgement must come from the horse’s mouth.
Funnily enough, Apple requested 14 days to issue a new statement but was firmly denied by the court. In fact, the court rebuked Apple asking why a company like Apple would have “technical difficulties” in modifying a message on their website:
I would like to see the head of Apple make an affidavit setting out the technical difficulties which means Apple can’t put this on. I just can’t believe the instructions you’ve been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?
To make matters worse, instead of a simple apology/notice like Apple was ordered to do in the first place, Apple now has to place a three sentence statement on its homepage until December 14 that says Apple originally posted inaccurate statements, with a link to the new statement/apology. Ouch.