Following The Letter Of The Law: Apple Publishes Non-Apology To Samsung On Its Website To Comply With U.K. Court Ruling

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After losing an appeal in a UK high court last week against a judgement that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets do not infringe the design of the iPad because their design is just not cool enough, Apple has now published an acknowledgement of the court’s judgement on its U.K. website — in line with the court order. You can’t call it an apology — quite the opposite: Apple makes it clear it does not agree with the court’s decision by pointing out that it has had court wins against Samsung for the same design patent in Germany, and noting its huge win against the Korean gadget maker in the U.S this summer.

Apple also focuses on the judge’s reasons for dismissing its patent claim — quoting the judge’s detailed ruling on exactly what makes the iPad’s design so much cooler than the Galaxy Tab, in which he talks almost lovingly of the “extreme simplicity” of the iPad’s design; its “undecorated surfaces”; “crisp edge” and “combination of curves”.

Apple then contrasts that with what the judge had to say about the Galaxy Tab: “very thin, almost insubstantial” with “unusual details on the back” — and the conclusion: “not cool”.

Here’s Apple’s acknowledgment in full

Samsung / Apple UK judgment

On 9th July 2012 the 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 notinfringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the Highcourt is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html.

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.”

That Judgment has effect throughout the European Union and was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 18 October 2012. A copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgment is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1339.html. There is no injunction in respect of the registered design in force anywhere in Europe.

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.

The acknowledgement has not been published on the homepage of Apple’s U.K. website but there is a link to it — right at the bottom of the page, next to the notification about Apple’s use of cookies

In addition to the online acknowledgement of the court’s judgment, Apple is required to publish an acknowledgment as adverts in U.K. newspapers.