This is quite something. Apple has issued an ‘apology’ to Samsung, after a UK court ruled in favor of Samsung in Apple’s appeal for its intellectual property case against the Galaxy Tab, and it makes for interesting reading.
Following the court’s order that it make its apology visible both on the Web and newspapers, Apple has posted a letter on its UK website (spotted by MacRumors) that explains that Samsung didn’t copy its design because it isn’t “cool.” That quote is actually from the judge, but the fact that Apple has chosen to put it on its website is somewhat cheeky.
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There isn’t much, or indeed anything explicitly apologetic about the note, as you might expect. In it, Apple points out that a court in Germany banned the Galaxy Tab, forcing Samsung to introduce the modified Galaxy Tab 10.1N. It also features quotes from the judge which, comparing the two, find the iPad more favorable.
We’ll keep an eye out for when the US firm’s statements makes it into the newspapers.
Here it is in full, it’ll be up for one month.
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.
If you’re looking for it on the Apple UK website, the link to the note is buried right at the bottom of the page:
Headline image via Flickr /nez