Apple has been criticised for its “untrue” and “incorrect” apology to Samsung as posted upon its UK website. Apple lost an appeal a fortnight ago about whether or not Samsung Galaxy tablets infringed upon Apple iPad registered design patents. To help publicly clear Samsung’s name, Apple was ordered to publish advertisements telling the public that Samsung is innocent of the plagiarism accusations. As well as the press advertisements Apple had to publish a statement upon its website for at least one month. Now UK Judges have decided the “corrective statement” Apple has put upon its website has been toyed with and added to too much. Also judges have requested that the link has to be from Apple’s homepage, not a subpage.
The current link to the statement
Talking to Bloomberg news service today Judge Robin Jacob said, regarding Apple’s appended published statement “I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order.” Instead of just publishing the simply scripted statement (below) saying that Samsung didn’t copy its iPad, Apple added several paragraphs giving the impression that the UK courts are out of step with European law. Also Apple’s copy writers included quotes of the judge saying Samsung products aren’t as cool as Apple’s.
The statement needed to simply read:
“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 not infringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High court is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html.”
Apple appended the following five paragraphs to the above:
“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 Judgement 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 US jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design and utility patents, awarding over one billion US dollars in damages to Apple Inc. So while the UK court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognised that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung wilfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad.”
Apple’s sullen tardiness has caused the firm more problems now as the judges have asked for a three sentence note on its home page acknowledging the lengthy “incorrect statement” and a link to a new notice. Apple requested 14 days in which to make the changes to its website. This delay has been rejected by the judges who said today that “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” to its website within 24 hours, said Judge Jacob, “This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?”
At the time of writing Apple has yet to finish writing its lines.