UK Court Judge Gives Apple 24 Hours To Remove/Replace “Incorrect” Web Notice On Samsung Galaxy Tab Ruling

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A UK Court of Appeal has ordered Apple to remove a statement on its website following a court ruling in which Apple lost an appeal against a ruling that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets do not infringe the design of the iPad.

The court had ordered Apple to post an acknowledgment of the ruling on its website. Apple complied with this order by posting what amounted to a non-apology to Samsung. However it’s now in hot water for posting “incorrect” and “untrue” information, according to the Court of Appeal in London. Appeal Court judges today criticized Apple’s public statement, in which it inserted four paragraphs including details of ‘similar German lawsuits’ which the court says are not true.

“I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this,” Bloomberg quotes Judge Robin Jacob saying. “That is a plain breach of the order.”

According to Bloomberg, the UK Court of Appeal has ordered Apple to remove the statement within 24 hours and post a new notice acknowledging inaccurate comments. Apple’s request for 14 days to make the change was rejected.

Bloomberg quotes Michael Beloff, a lawyer for Apple, telling the court that the comments posted by Apple were in line with the original order. The notice “is not designed to punish, it is not designed to make us grovel,” he is quoted as saying. “The only purpose is to dispel commercial uncertainty.”

The offending four paragraphs in Apple’s statement are highlighted in bold below

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.