Friday, November 02, 2012

UK judges rap Apple over “non compliant” statement

Apple has been ordered by UK judges to re-write a statement on its website relating to its design rights dispute with Samsung. The US company famous for its iPhones and iPads was originally ordered to publish a message on 18th October saying that Samsung had not infringed the iPad's registered design. However Samsung complained the statement Apple had posted did not comply with the court order.

"Inaccurate and misleading"

While Apple's statement on its site did contain the elements it was instructed to contain according to the court of appeal and high court rulings, Apple added four paragraphs. Samsung complained that the notice posted by Apple was "inaccurate and misleading" because it had added comments about other rulings in Germany and the US that had gone in the iPad-maker's favour. "This has received enormous publicity and has perpetuated confusion as to Samsung's entitlement to market the Galaxy tablet computers in issue," a Samsung lawyer said in a written statement to judges. "It has created the impression that the UK court is out of step with other courts."

Judges berate Apple

However, the UK's ruling applies to the whole of the EU and judges were less than impressed by Apple's excuses, nor an explanation that changes would take up to two weeks to implement.

"We are just amazed that you cannot put the right notice up at the same time as you take the other one down," Lord Justice Longmore told Michael Beloff QC, the lawyer representing Apple. Another High Court judge, Sir Robin Jacob, 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."

Berating Michael Beloff QC, Sir Robin said, "I don't believe the instructions you have been given...This is Apple that cannot put something on their own website?"

While judges made no mention of imposing further sanctions or threaten contempt of court, they ruled that Apple should post a corrected notice within 48 hours.

Statement removed

Early Friday morning the original notice remained online [Screengrab via Daily Mail] but by 9 am had been taken down with the original link displaying the message: "Hmm, the page you're looking for can't be found." The link had also been removed from Apple's home page with no sign as of 10 am to a new statement having been published.

Michael Beloff QC, representing Apple, earlier told judges that the company had thought that it had complied with the court order. "It's not designed to punish," he said. "It's not designed to make us grovel. The only purpose must be to dispel commercial uncertainty."


The ruling will add further embarrassment to the company which has waged a war against Google's operating system Android and manufactures of devices that use it. While judges said in their ruling that Samsung tablets were "not as cool" as the iPad, price and usability is fast becoming a factor in the way consumers make their choice. An iPad may be cool but the price can burn a large hole in most people's pockets.

More reports: BBC / Sky / GuardianBloomberg / Daily Mail / Telegraph 

tvnewswatch, London, UK

Original wording of Apple statement which judges found to be in breach of their 18th October ruling:

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

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 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.

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