Apple slams Samsung on its U.K. website after court ruling

Summary:The iPhone and iPad maker has issued an 'advert' on its website, following a U.K. High Court ruling earlier this year, in which Apple slams ten bells out of Samsung, its arch-rival in the tablet space.

A week after Apple lost an appeal at the U.K. High Court, forcing the iPhone and iPad maker to serve up an 'advert' on its U.K. home page , Apple has followed through with the court's request.

But Apple didn't go down fighting, and took one chunky bite out of Samsung in the process.

On October 18, a U.K. High Court appeals judge ruled that Samsung did not infringed Apple's design patents in the U.K., following an earlier ruling by Judge Colin Birss claiming that Samsung tablets were not as "cool" as the iPad's design.

As a result, Birss originally ruled that Apple must run so-called "advertisements" on its U.K. website and a number of U.K. printed publications, stating that Samsung did not infringe Apple's patents, and therefore did not break U.K. law.

It was ruled that the notice must stay on Apple's site for a period no less than one month (PDF) in order to "correct the damaging impression" left by Apple's suit.

Apple applied for a stay on the ruling, which it was granted, but lost the appeal last week. 

Apple went ahead and changed its U.K. home page this morning to include a small link at the bottom of the page, titled: "Samsung/Apple UK judgment."

The results are not pretty, at least for Samsung.

Apple managed to turn the "advertisement" for Samsung and successfully spin it round to make it look as though it smelt of freshly plucked flowers, at least in the United Kingdom. Apple noted that its products were "cool," a direct quote from the judge in the original case, compared to the Samsung Galaxy tablets, and carefully selected the excerpt from the judgment for publication. At the same time, Apple also noted what was said about its rival Samsung tablets in the judgment. 

However, the final two paragraphs of the statement are most telling. 

Apple notes that a case in Germany regarding the same patent found Samsung was "copying" the iPad design. The same in the U.S, where Apple was awarded more than $1 billion in damages . The killer blow is right before your eyes, when Apple compared the U.K. case to other cases around the world:

The statement read: "Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad." 

The message can be read in full here. Note the final paragraph as where the final, swift kick to Samsung's nether regions is delivered:

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.

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

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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