Apple must pay Samsung's U.K. legal fees after 'false' statement

Apple must pay Samsung's U.K. legal fees after 'false' statement

Summary: Thanks to an embellished statement by Apple following a U.K. court order, the iPhone and iPad must now pay Samsung's legal fees as a result of its deliberate faux pas.

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Apple has been forced by a U.K. court to cough up Samsung's entire U.K. legal fees for embellishing its court-ordered part-statement, part-apology with additional details, which was highly criticized by the court for being "false and misleading."

Apple was lambasted by the U.K. Court of Appeal on November 1 and slapped the iPhone and iPad with yet another court order, after it was first told to issue a statement on its Web site and in a number of U.K. print publications stating that Samsung did not copy the iPad in the U.K., after Samsung won the case.

As a result of Samsung's complaint to the U.K. Court of Appeal following the not-so-kind apology, Samsung will now be reimbursed its entire legal fees in the country back to the very beginning of the case.

From the November 1 court order hearing (Clarification: the order was issued on November 9):

U.K. Court of Appeal judge Sir Robin Jacob noted that in the embellished statement, in which Apple tried to lessen the U.K. court defeat by comparing similar cases in other jurisdictions -- notably Germany, wider Europe, and the U.S. -- where Apple won rulings against Samsung, in which Apple said: "in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design."

But Sir Robin dubbed this "a false [statement]."

"No patent of any kind has been involved in Germany or here, still less 'the same patent'," he noted.

One of the more contentious lines, the final paragraph of the original statement that Apple published on its Web site, which read:

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 wilfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad.

Sir Robin noted this was "calculated to produce huge confusion." He added: "The false innuendo is that the UK court came to a different conclusion about copying, which is not true for the UK court did not form any view about copying. There is a further false innuendo that the UK court's decision is at odds with decisions in other countries whereas that is simply not true."

Even noting one report by The Register, an article titled: "APPLE: SCREW YOU, BRITS, everyone else says Samsung copied us," Sir Robin noted that, "Samsung has supported its application by citation from a large number of press and Web reports showing that the effect of the Contested Notice has indeed been to undermine what was intended."

However, days later Apple published only the court ordered text in a number of U.K. print publications, including The Guardian and The Telegraph, among others. While this included only the two paragraphs sanctioned by the court, Sir Robin "record[ed] that Apple's compliance with the newspaper advertisement order was lackadaisical at best."

Though the first order was to place the 'advertisements' in the newspapers and magazines "in the earliest available issue," he noted that, "I would have thought that self-evidently meant what it said – get the advertisements into each publication as soon as possible."

What Apple chose to do as regards the newspapers and magazines was less than that. Its Vice President Worldwide Marketing Communications [Phil Schiller] said he understood the approach to be adopted was "to co-ordinate adverts across those publications in order to ensure the widest readership possible is exposed to the advert on the same day."

That apparently meant to Apple so far as the newspapers were concerned the same day, but not the magazines which had longer lead times. Apple accordingly arranged for November 16th for all the newspapers.

I note in passing that it is not said that November 16th was the earliest possible date even for just all the newspapers. I would be surprised if it were, given that our order was made on 18th October. So there was self-evident non-compliance with the newspaper/magazine aspect of the publicity order.

Apple did not contend otherwise. Its breach of that part of the order is clearly an additional factor justifying the indemnity costs order we made against Apple.

Days later, Apple was found to have modified its U.K. Web site pages with hidden 'resize' code to force users, no matter how large their display or dense their screen resolution, to scroll down to see the apology notice. Swiftly removed less than a week later, CNET discovered, this was not covered by the court as far as we are aware. A crisis of conscience, perhaps? One could speculate.

In noting that Apple "needed fourteen days to comply" for "technical reasons," Sir Robin found this "disturbing" that it was seemingly beyond the technical abilities of the technology supergiant to make even the most minor changes to its Web site.

"We said the time could be extended by an application supported by an affidavit from a senior executive explaining the reasons why more was needed. In the event no such application was made. I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple."

He ordered that Apple should pay the legal fees for Samsung's defense as a result of the repeated failures by the Cupertino, Calif.-based company. 

"As to the costs (lawyers' fees) to be awarded against Apple, we concluded that they should be on an indemnity basis. Such a basis (which is higher than the normal, "standard" basis) can be awarded as a mark of the court's disapproval of a party's conduct, particularly in relation to its respect for an order of the court. Apple's conduct warranted such an order."

Topics: United Kingdom, Apple, iPad, Legal, Samsung, Tablets, EU

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15 comments
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  • Indemity basis mean:

    Phone calls bills,
    Parking bills,
    Diners/other bills.

    EVERYTHING that Samsung layers will name as expenses that would otherwise not be made if only that case would not be brought to court.

    Its specifically designed that way. So judge can spank particularly defiant side of litigation. "Normal" refunds would not count those.

    That is probably a notch below declaring "contempt" by court in UK.

    PS "resize" attribute was quite technical, so could be even over looked by Samsung. And it probably was legal. Main page is main page. And every user will treat it as such even if he have to scroll. Order did not stated "first portion of main page that is visible to user upon entering main page" after all.
    przemoli
  • You reap what you sow...

    ...without competent snake-oil salesmen at their helm, it will be increasingly difficult for Apple to bend reality to its will...
    acosta1
    • Not quite; this Robin person is obviously wrong

      There was nothing "false" in any of Apple's statements. And yes, court in Germany found Samsung infringing Apple's patent on iPad, and Samsung had to update design to Galaxy Tab 10N version -- which is less similar to iPad.
      DDERSSS
      • Do you want the appeal court's address?

        Seeing as you know more than the judiciary.

        Sorry, that should have read, seeing as you THINK you know more than the judiciary.

        What is it that makes you think you know better than an experienced, long standing and respected judge. Oh yeah, you read zdnet so know it all.
        Little Old Man
        • I agree

          The court wasn't wrong. It gave a judgment and that stuck. Just because another court somewhere else said something different doesn't mean that the U.K. is wrong.
          zwhittaker
          • UK's court is not necessar wrong in this case, but it is wrong about ...

            ... particular statement by Robison that Apple's message was "false" (there was nothing false in it), as well as with his "No patent of any kind has been involved in Germany" -- there was patent in Germany's case.
            DDERSSS
          • The Court ruling listed what was false.

            It's not just a river in Egypt... ;-)
            Zogg
          • They don't have to be right, either

            Just because an UK court said something doesn't mean someone else has to agree.
            Applies to all courts everywhere.

            Plus, many people certainly know way more than any judge, be it British or whatever.
            danbi
          • The Judge enumerated Apple's lies in his ruling.

            I've already reproduced the relevant section below.
            Zogg
          • So true danbi, so true

            That's why the ridiculous verdict in the California Apple v. Samsung case will get thrown out
            john-whorfin
      • The Court said otherwise

        Specifically:
        "20. Even if that were not so, it cannot be legitimate to break up the ordered notice with false material. And the matter added was indeed false. Before introducing the quotes from HHJ Birss it begins:

        In the ruling, the judge made several important points comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products.

        But the Judge was not comparing "the Apple and Samsung products." There is not and has never been any Apple product in accordance with the registered design. Apple's statement would clearly be taken by ordinary readers and journalists to be a reference to a real Apple product, the iPad. By this statement Apple was fostering the false notion that the case was about the iPad. And that the Samsung product was "not as cool" as the iPad.

        21. I turn to the last paragraph. I do not think the order as made precluded any addition to the required notice if that addition had been true and did not undermine the effect of the required notice. But I do consider that adding false and misleading material was illegitimate. For by adding such material the context of the required notice is altered so that it will be understood differently.

        22. Here what Apple added was false and misleading. I turn to analyse it. The first sentence reads:

        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.

        That is false in the following ways:

        (a) "Regarding the same patent." No patent of any kind has been involved in Germany or here, still less "the same patent."

        (b) As regards the Community Registered Design, the German Courts held that neither the Galaxy 10.1 nor the 8.9 infringed it. As to the 7.7 there was for a short while a German provisional order holding that it infringed. Whether there was a jurisdiction to make that order is very doubtful for the reasons given in my earlier judgment but in any event the order had been (or should have been) discharged by the time the Contested Notice was published.

        (c) There is a finding and injunction, limited to Germany alone, that the 10.1 and 8.9 infringe German unfair competition law. But the statement is likely to be read as of more general application.

        23. The second sentence reads:

        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.

        That is misleading by omission. For the US jury specifically rejected Apple's claim that the US design patent corresponding to the Community Design in issue here was infringed. The average reader would think that the UK decision was at odds with that in the US. Far from that being so, it was in accordance with it.

        24. The third sentence reads:

        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 wilfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad.

        This is calculated to produce huge confusion. The false innuendo is that the UK court came to a different conclusion about copying, which is not true for the UK court did not form any view about copying. There is a further false innuendo that the UK court's decision is at odds with decisions in other countries whereas that is simply not true.

        25. The reality is that wherever Apple has sued on this registered design or its counterpart, it has ultimately failed. It may or may not have other intellectual property rights which are infringed. Indeed the same may be true the other way round for in some countries Samsung are suing Apple. But none of that has got anything to do with the registered design asserted by Apple in Europe. Apple's additions to the ordered notice clearly muddied the water and the message obviously intended to be conveyed by it."

        http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20121109130213229
        Zogg
  • The pain...

    It's not like Apple doesn't have money to burn. It's not like Apple couldn't pay this find with the spare change they find between their couch cushions. But still, it had to be done. You can't just make a mockery of a judge's order and expect to get away with it. The public shaming is far more painful than the financial cost.
    dsf3g
    • Yes but...

      .. do you think Apple learned anything from this public flogging? My bet is "No".
      MajorlyCool
  • bakgor

    There was nothing "false" in any of Apple's statements. And yes, court in Germany found Samsung infringing Apple's patent on iPad
    I guess may agree among themselves a common...


    chat
    sohbet
    Maykmayki
    • But now the judge openly works for Samsung

      You don't need to look far for false with a judge who openly takes large fees from litigants that he has sided with.
      Henry 3 Dogg