U.K. Court Says Apple’s “Apology” To Samsung Dishonest And Misleading

U.K. Court Says Apple’s “Apology” To Samsung Dishonest And Misleading

If you’ve been following the back-and-forth over Apple’s court-mandated “apology” to Samsung in the UK, you know it’s been Cupertino at its cheekiest.

It’s also been Cupertino at its most dishonest, according to a London High Court, and they’re  had enough, slamming Apple for false and misleading statements about the trial… and ordering Apple to pay all of Samsung’s legal bills on top of things.

Here’s the history so far.

Ordered to publish a statement by the U.K. Court of Appeals both in print and online that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets do not infringe upon Apple’s designs, Apple first tried to twist the apology to appear as if it were a court-mandated statement that the Galaxy Tab is “not as cool” as an iPad, and to make the United Kingdom’s judgment seem out of step with the rest of the world.

When the UK judge kicked about that, Apple then placed an apology on their homepage that was partially hidden by clever CSS tricks, though they later removed the code.

The London High Court has not been amused by these escapades, and published a judgment on Friday that went point-by-point through Apple’s various statements in the matter and admonished Apple for their misleading statements in very strong terms.

Over at Fortune, there’s a great breakdown off the court’s response, which does indeed make a damning case that not only was Apple not responding to the judgment within the spirit of the law, it wasn’t even being honest about the particulars of the case.

For example, in an attempt to make the U.K. court look out-of-touch with similar rulings internationally, Apple claimed that “in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design.”

The court’s response? “No patent of any kind has been involved in Germany or here, still less ‘the same patent.’”

The U.K. court even objects to Apple’s characterization of the case by saying it’s about Samsung “copying” the design of the iPad.

“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,” wrote the court.

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.”

To be honest, reading the court’s response point-by-point, Apple doesn’t look cheeky so much as outright petulant and dishonest. The court concluded: “I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.

It might not be if Apple keeps losing cases against Samsung: this is part of Steve Jobs’s own “thermonuclear war” and for Cupertino, the stakes are huge.

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  • bri_maher

    I think it’s just a very biased judge.

  • Paul

    Samsung is hated by other companies in Asia. It’s a real scumbag company and does nothing but ape Apple at every opportunity. You would have to be blind not to see that Samsung has aped Apple and copied Apple at every turn. Support American companies that create American jobs. Apple employs some 60,000 Americans.

  • volodoscope

    That judge needs to relax.

  • ActionableMango

    Apple should have just complied in a straightforward way and this all would have been over much faster. Now it will drag out with continued bad press, extra costs, and probably an extension to the six months.

  • war_by_proxy

    First, I have a grammar tip for Brownlee: If the clause after a colon is independent, you should capitalize the first letter of the clause. Second, the judge isn’t biased; obeying court orders is not optional, and courts take it very seriously when you are snooty. Complying with a court’s order is not about trying to carry it out technically—it’s about doing what they say with a smile on your face and a “Yes, your honor.”

  • RadTech5000

    I like the way Apple is handling this is a complete joke anyway, Samsung should be the one apologizing to Apple not the other way around.

  • teknichian2k

    I have to agree with the majority and say biased judge. An unbiased judge would have thrown out a case in which the company filing suit lost. Instead, this judge tells the company filing suit, in this case Apple, they have to publicly apologize to their most vocal opponent? I fail to see the logic behind this ruling. And he is upset that nobody seems to take him seriously? All I can say is you make a ruling with the law to support you, you will get respect and cooperation. You make a ruling based in fantasy-land, these are the sort of results you will get.

  • Stuka_UK

    Irrespective of whether the judgement against Apple was fair or not, I have to say that it is not being carried out with much dignity….. Sometimes you need to take it on the chin and move on.

  • imajoebob

    This judge could be in trouble. Sanctioning Apple for not complying with an order is one thing – and appropriate. But changing the original ruling to now include Samsung’s complete legal cost – not just costs related to the noncompliance, is crossing a very clear and well-established line. When the public can’t even rely on the concept of Stare Decisis when it comes to a single judge’s OWN ruling, nothing is certain, there is no hope for any reliable definition of justice. This judge has done more to harm the legitimacy of the court than any of Apple’s shenanigans.

  • war_by_proxy

    But changing the original ruling to now include Samsung’s complete legal cost – not just costs related to the noncompliance, is crossing a very clear and well-established line. When the public can’t even rely on the concept of Stare Decisis when it comes to a single judge’s OWN ruling, nothing is certain, there is no hope for any reliable definition of justice. This judge has done more to harm the legitimacy of the court than any of Apple’s shenanigans.

    There’s no way I can avoid being rude here, so I’m just going to say that you should probably have a better idea about what legal terms mean before using them.

  • brownlee

    This judge could be in trouble. Sanctioning Apple for not complying with an order is one thing – and appropriate. But changing the original ruling to now include Samsung’s complete legal cost – not just costs related to the noncompliance, is crossing a very clear and well-established line.

    What clear and established line? In the U.K., it is common for the losing party in a lawsuit to pay the legal bills of the victor.

  • brownlee

    That judge needs to relax.

    Why should he relax? Apple not only shit all over his judgment and publicly flouted the authority of British law, but they’re being openly dishonest. In the grand scheme of things, I agree that Samsung is a shameless copier of Apple’s products, but the UK court makes it clear here that that’s not what is on trial specifically here. Apple is totally in the wrong here.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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