When UK judge Colin Biriss demanded Apple publicly apologize to Samsung for failing to prove that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 had infringed on the iPad, many Android fans – including me – envisioned Apple would actually do as they were told. But this is Apple we're talking about. Nobody puts Apple in the corner.
So I suppose it should come as no surprise that instead of issuing a clear apology for suing Samsung for no valid reason, Apple printed a non-apology apology. You know: the kind of apology where you say, "I'm supposed to apologize to you so I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings."
The non-apology, which must be posted in 14pt Ariel font in newspapers all over the UK as well as on Apple's website, is dense with non-apologetic sentences about the facts of the trial. In fact, at times, it reads like an ad for Apple. Referring to the iPad, Apple writes, "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." Granted, these are words said by a judge, but it makes it very unclear why Apple is even being asked to apologize for anything in the first place.
When Apple finally gets around to explaining the reason why they're being forced to apologize, it's such an anti-climactic sentence that it's hard not to accidentally skip over it. "There is no injunction in respect of the registered design in force anywhere in Europe," they write. Okay, but to anyone unfamiliar with this case, that means exactly nothing. Are we talking about an injunction against Apple or Samsung products?
Apple even attacks Samsung later in the apology when they say, "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."
I wonder if Apple will get away with this rather pathetic excuse for an apology or if Samsung will be able to wrangle them into posting something more legitimate. Full text below:
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.