Apple Removes “Incorrect” Legal Statement From U.K. Website Following Court Order In iPad Vs. Galaxy Tab Case

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Apple has pulled down a legal statement on its U.K. website, posted after it lost an appeal in a U.K. court against a ruling that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets do not infringe the design of the iPad. It had been ordered to acknowledge the ruling in a public post. However yesterday, at another hearing at the U.K. Court of Appeal, Apple was criticized for adding “incorrect” and “untrue” information to the statement — and ordered to remove it within 24 hours, and replace it with a compliant notice within 48 hours. The original statement had the tone of a non-apology (see full statement below).

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

The statement was still on Apple’s U.K. website earlier today but has now been removed –

The court rejected Apple’s request yesterday for 14 days in which to post a new, compliant statement. The BBC quotes Lord Justice Longmore telling Apple’s lawyer, Michael Beloff: “We are just amazed that you cannot put the right notice up at the same time as you take the other one down.”

Another judge, Sir Robin Jacob, is reported to have added: “I would like to see the head of Apple [Tim Cook] make an affidavit about why that is such a technical difficulty for the Apple company.”

The court gave Apple 48 hours to repost a compliant notice. (Update: Apple has published a compliant version of the court notice in U.K. newspaper, The Guardian this morning — as spotted by TNW.)

The original web statement, with the offending paragraphs highlighted in bold, follows 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.