Thursday, November 01, 2012

Apple's snarky response to U.K. court order earns a slap from judges

No matter what you may think, Apple doesn't always win its legal battles, and in this case, it's lost twice. On Oct. 18, Apple U.K. was ordered to publish an on-site message making it clear that Samsung had not infringed the iPad's registered design. As of Nov. 1, though, the company has been slapped down again, told it did not comply satisfactorily with the order.

Judge Robin Jacob said on Thursday, “I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order.”

Samsung had complained the statement that Apple had posted did not fully comply with the court order. Judges agreed and told Apple they have 24 hours to remove the current statement, after which a new, compliant version must then be posted within 48 hours.

Apple asked for 14 days to post a new version, but that request was quickly denied. Jacob was also incredulous that Apple could not fulfill the court order in a timely manner. He said,
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 [their website]. I just can’t believe the instructions you’ve been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?
The original statement, ordered by the High Court of Justice of England on Oct. 18, was supposed to clarify the court's finding that the design of three of Samsung's Galaxy Tablet computers did not infringe on the iPad's patented design.

The issue can be seen in Apple's addendum to the statement they put on their site (here, with an image of original statement here, in case Apple removes the original). While indeed it cited the results of the case, the statement added the final paragraph:
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.
It appears the U.K. judges involved in the case did not find Apple's addendum humorous.

Apple must now add a three-sentence note to its homepage acknowledging “the incorrect statement,” along with a link to a new notice, the judges ruled on Thursday.

In addition, as part of the original order, Apple must publish notices in U.K. newspapers and trade magazines with details of the ruling. The Financial Times published the statement in today’s edition on page four.

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