Apple Adds Link to Samsung Website and Acknowledges Company Didn’t Copy iPad Design

Despite their best efforts to prove otherwise (including patents that have been filed), the UK didn’t agree that Apple invented the concept of a tablet that has a “rectangular shape and rounded corners.” As a result, Apple lost their recent appeal against Samsung asserting that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 did not infringe Apple’s iPad designs. Part of the judgement is the judge’s decision that Apple must run advertisements in local newspapers as well as on the company’s website (which has now been done).

The apology itself is exactly what you would expect from Apple: minimalistic, professional and delivered without an ounce of emotion or warm-fuzzy feelings. In fact, in many ways it barely reads like an apology at all with content that reads moreso like an advertisement with Apple describing their own iPad:

“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.”

Of course, they do give an ounce of credit to Samsung where it is (legally) due by saying that “the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back,” and finishing with the note stating that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 does not have “the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.” In case you missed the part where that is a compliment, Apple is acknowledging that they really couldn’t have copied the iPad design (or at least they didn’t do so well enough to make a truly competitive product).

On second thought, there really isn’t an apology at all in the text of this… apology. There is a distinct admission of their loss in this particular legal battle though, which may be all Samsung could have (should have) hoped to get from this exercise.

If you ask Apple, the Samsung tablets are “not as cool.” Do you agree?

 

Full Letter posted on Apple’s website:

 

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 notinfringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the Highcourt 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.

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