UK court grants Apple reprieve on Samsung 'copy' case, for now

Summary:A week after Apple was told by a U.K. judge that it must publicly admit Samsung did not copy the iPad, Apple is granted a stay on the ruling -- for now.

Apple lawyers walked away from a U.K. court and breathed a sigh of relief, following a judge's decision to grant a stay on an earlier ruling forcing the Cupertino-based company to publicly state Samsung had not copied the iPad's design.

A London court said today that Apple will not have to immediately place the notice on its website, reports Bloomberg, giving the iPad maker enough time to appeal in October. 

U.K. High Court judge Colin Birss ruled in an earlier case on July 18 that Samsung did not infringe the iPad's design patents because the rival Samsung Galaxy Tab was not as "cool" as Apple's shiny rectangle. 

Birss said Apple had to display a notice on its U.K. website for up to six months, and post "advertisements" -- as described by Apple's lawyer Richard Hacon -- in a number of British newspapers and online publications making it clear that Samsung had not breached U.K. law. 

As AllThingsD reports, the notice should be "in a font size no small than Arial 14 on a page earlier than page 6." Perhaps adding insult to injury, Apple would have to pay for the ad-space for ultimately the privilege of publicly flogging itself.

All in all, it makes sense. The whole point of the ruling was to even out the balance in favor of Samsung to undo the damage caused by Apple's persistent legal attacks. Despite a number of ongoing and ruled-on cases in other areas of the world stating Samsung had infringed Apple's design patents in their respective jurisdiction, the U.K. is not one of them. At least, not yet. 

Today's court move should come as no surprise. If an appeal court rules in Apple's favor and Samsung is later on found to have infringed the iPad's design, having an "advertisement" of sorts on Apple's U.K. website would cause an imbalance of justice and cause irreparable harm to the company's public image. 

If the case falls again in Samsung's favor, then Apple will have to bite the bullet, accept its punishment, and eat a whole boatload of cold and frosty humble pie.

To add another interesting twist to the ongoing tale, a German court extended a ban on the Galaxy Tab 7.7 to the entire European Union, on the grounds that patents belonging to Apple dating back to 2004 were infringed. But Birss said in his final court ruling that the Galaxy Tab 7.7 -- as one of the tablets in question -- was not in breach of such patents.

It's one jurisdiction's word against another -- Germany vs. the U.K. -- and the last time that happened, well, let's just say: "don't mention the war," (or the World Cup.) 

Image credit: CNET.

Topics: Apple, Government : UK, Legal, Patents, Samsung

About

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

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