Apple Forced To Admit Defeat To Samsung In Newspaper Ads After Losing Appeal In U.K.

Apple Forced To Admit Defeat To Samsung In Newspaper Ads After Losing Appeal In U.K.

Apple will now have to publish adverts that state Samsung did not copy its design.

Apple has lost its appeal against a High Court ruling in the United Kingdom that deemed the Samsung Galaxy Tab does not infringe its copyright for the iPad. Despite the similarities between the two devices, the Court of Appeal upheld its decision that Samsung did not copy the iPad when producing the Galaxy Tab.

Apple will now have to place “prominent advertisements” in magazines and newspapers, explaining that Samsung did not infringe its design.

The original ruling, made back in July, admitted that the iPad and the Galaxy Tab look “very, very similar” from the front, but noted that there were significant differences on the back and in thickness between the two. Judge Colin Birss also insisted that Samsung’s design was “not as cool” as Apple’s, because it lacked the “extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.”

As you might expect, Samsung is delighted by today’s ruling.

“We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners and that the origins of Apple’s registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art,” the Korean company told the BBC.

“Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims in other countries based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited.”

Apple is yet to comment on the decision.

One of the judges involved in the Court of Appeal review, Sir Robin Jacob, who admitted that he owned an iPad himself, explained why Apple lost: ”Because this case (and parallel cases in other countries) has generated much publicity, it will avoid confusion to say what this case is about and not about.

“It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple’s iPad. Infringement of a registered design does not involve any question of whether there was copying: the issue is simply whether the accused design is too close to the registered design according to the tests laid down in the law.

“So this case is all about, and only about, Apple’s registered design and the Samsung products.”

Apple will now have to publish advertisements in newspapers and magazines in the U.K. to “correct the damaging impression” it has made with its claims against Samsung.

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  • sault

    Im so glad Apple hasn´t won eveeeeeeeeerything. :-)

  • Lars Pallesen

    This is just bizarre. Especially after Apple’s landslide victory over Samsung in the US.

  • JacktheMac

    Looking forward to reading the adverts. Would love to be in on *that* copywriting session.

  • Len Williams

    Never put yourself in the hands of the court system if possible. This is a boneheaded decision that completely flies in the face of logic and simple, direct observation. “It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple’s iPad.” What? I thought that’s EXACTLY what the trial was about! In essence, the English court is saying that as an individual or company you can spend years and millions of dollars in research and design, but it’s OK for someone else to then come along and copy your ideas, as long as they make the product look a little different. This is nuts! Where is the impetus to innovate? Where is the legal protection of hard-won proprietary technology? This decision recognizes the right of the criminal to steal and then penalizes the injured party by forcing it to say “they didn’t copy” when it’s PATENTLY OBVIOUS to a child that the two devices look nearly identical.

  • VaheyGraham

    But ‘UK’ really means England and therefore des not include Scotland where the law is different. Wonder what they will do about that then?

  • AndrewC

    You can read the court judgement here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1339.html
    As you will see, they weren’t comparing the Galaxy with the iPad, they compared it with the registered design on which the iPad was subsequently based; as the judge says in the ruling: “This case must be decided as if the iPad never existed.” They obviously decided, as other judges in other courts have also done, that however similar the Galaxy is to the iPad, it differs from those aspects of the iPad covered by the registered design.

  • Mal Hooper
    … spend years and millions of dollars in research and design …

    “years and millions of dollars in research and design” for an iPad?! You are not serious, right? A tablet is just a under-powered notebook computer with a touchscreen and all its internals behind said touchscreen. What is there to “research”? Apple makes pretty things, I give you that, but they neither invent nor research technology… it is all about designs. In fact, Apple is closer to, say, Louis Vuitton than to IBM.

    This is the textbook definition of ‘jaded’. You’re so used to technology you actually think it’s easy. Let me guess…you buy parts off the internet and “build” your own PC’s? You actually think you designed and built a computer, don’t you? You actually think that’s all Apple does for their computers, don’t you? You couldn’t be more wrong.

  • technochick

    Rumor has it that the appeal wasn’t to the THE HIGHEST court so this might not be a done deal.

    And you can bet even if it is that Apple will word the ads to show that the court is making them publish the court’s statements and it’s not coming from Apple. They might even include any statements from the appeal that basically say that yes Samsung copied. Certainly they will include that ‘not as cool’ quote.

  • technochick

    Outside of Lucy “lucky for Apple” Koh’s court, Apple lost most of their patent trolling cases!

    Actually they haven’t. Most of their cases were over non design patents which they either won or the case hasn’t gone to court. And even in Koh’s court the ‘winning’ items were mainly the non design ones.

  • technochick

    “It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple’s iPad.” What? I thought that’s EXACTLY what the trial was about! In essence, the English court is saying that as an individual or company you can spend years and millions of dollars in research and design, but it’s OK for someone else to then come along and copy your ideas, as long as they make the product look a little different.

    Patents are about specifics. If the design patent lists specifics factors of design that Samsung didn’t copy but the UK laws say it has to be a firm match then legally they didn’t copy even though they took a hell of a lot of ‘inspiration’ from Apple. US laws are perhaps more lenient, particularly since Apple was able to prove that Samsung was lying when they said they didn’t look at the competition when coming up with designs, features etc. Under US law, that kind of proof might be a factor in deciding fault (but the UK laws might not have such tests). I know that under US copyright law, if you can’t prove that the offender had access to your material it diminishes claims of illegal copying particularly if the offending items are very vaguely similar

  • RadTech5000

    Just post what the judge said end. > “Samsung is not as cool as Apple”

  • Eric Harrington

    Um no. How about this – just stop selling Apple products in the UK, then let the end users that demand Apple products take it up with their legal system. That Samsung tablet, which is nice, looks like an iPad. Sorry – the judgement is 100% wrong.

  • Spyke

    This is just bizarre. Especially after Apple’s landslide victory over Samsung in the US.

    Not so bizarre. The US jury, while condemning Samsung for just about everything else, nevertheless found in Samsung’s favour with regard to copying the look of the tablet, just like the UK judge.

    See the WSJ, for example:

    The only patent the jury found Samsung didn’t infringe relates to design of a tablet. Throughout the trial, Samsung’s lawyers frequently remarked that Apple shouldn’t be given a monopoly on a rectangle with rounded corners.

  • sadirbabe

    Not as cool? Talk about unprofessional phrasing. And this is coming from a top judge.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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