As required by a UK High Court ruling, Apple has updated its British site with a link to a message indicating that Samsung was found to have not infringed the iPad's patented design in the UK. The statement, which reads like it was crafted by a small army of lawyers, also points out the judge's remarks on Apple's "simple" design and "cool" products, and echoes the widely-reported conclusion that Samsung's tablets were "not as cool". Naturally.
However, Apple fires back in the final paragraph, where it draws attention to a more successful court case elsewhere in Europe --
"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."
That's probably not what either Samsung or the court was hoping for. The judge indicated that in forcing Apple to post such a statement, his intention was to "correct" the copycat label that had been applied to Samsung. The final paragraph only serves to muddy things further, by suggesting that while Samsung didn't copy the iPad, it totally copied the iPad.
We've got the full statement after the break. You can also find it linked at the bottom of apple.com/uk
So what's next? More courtroom wrangling over the exact wording of Apple's statement? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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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