As required by a U.K. court, Apple has posted a notice on its website that says Samsung did not copy Cupertino with its Galaxy lineup of tablets and smartphones. Well, sort of.
In the notice, accessible via the “Samsung/Apple UK judgement” link on apple.co.uk, Apple acknowledges that the High Court of Justice of England and Wales found that that Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe on Apple’s design patent for the iPad.
But those hoping for a mea culpa from Cupertino shouldn’t hold their breath. Apple goes on to toot its own horn and highlight the parts of the judge’s ruling that criticize Samsung’s tablets – particularly that bit about how the Galaxy Tab lineup is “not as cool” as the iPad.
“The extreme simplicity of the Apple design is striking,” the judge wrote. The Galaxy Tabs, though, “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.”
Apple concludes by pointing out that judges in Germany and the U.S. have ruled in Apple’s favor on patent infringement cases involving Samsung.
Apple did not pen this note out the goodness of its heart, of course. In July, Judge Colin Birss of the High Court ordered Apple to post a note on its website and publish an ad in magazines and newspapers to say that Samsung did not rip off Apple when it designed its tablets. Not surprisingly, Apple was not pleased and appealed the decision, so its public apology was delayed. But the U.K.’s Court of Appeals last week upheld the lower court’s decision. Apple has apparently decided not to take the issue to the U.K. Supreme Court, and posted the notice.
The full notice is below. Also check out PCMag’s roundup of Apple’s Most Notable Apologies.
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.