Apple posts passive-aggressive “Samsung didn’t copy” statement

Oct 26, 2012
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Apple's legally-mandated acknowledgement that Samsung did not copy the iPad has gone live on the company's site, though the Cupertino firm does not shy from the opportunity to get a few digs in at its Korean foe. The acknowledgement page, linked from the footnote of Apple's UK homepage, quotes the relevant court order and then the section of the original ruling in which Apple's own products are praised for the "striking" nature of their "extreme simplicity" and "cool design"; it also mentions the judge's comments that Samsung products "are not as cool."

It's the final paragraph where things get particularly passive-aggressive. Although Apple was instructed to publicly announce that Samsung had been deemed not copying the iPad with the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9, adn Tab 7.7, the firm also takes the opportunity for a reminder that other courts haven't felt the same way.

Apple cites the Germany case, where Samsung was found to be guilty of unfair competition, and the recent US case where it was awarded more than $1bn in damages. "So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement," Apple concludes, "other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad."

It's not clear whether Samsung will have any room for legal complaint about Apple's choice of phrasing. The court ruling insisted on a certain minimum font size for the text, but didn't set out exactly how it should read. It also said that Apple could host it on a separate page, linked from somewhere on its homepage.

The statement will have to remain in place for at least a month, and as well as appearing on Apple's site, the company will be publishing it in various magazines and newspapers in the UK.

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 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.

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.


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