Apple Leaves U.K. Judge at ‘Loss’ Over Samsung Web Posts
By Jeremy Hodges – Nov 1, 2012 9:16 AM ET
Apple Inc. (AAPL) was criticized by U.K. judges in a lawsuit with Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) for posting a notice on its website that was “untrue” and “incorrect.”
The U.K. Court of Appeal in London ordered Apple to remove the statement within 24 hours and place a new notice acknowledging the inaccurate comments. The Cupertino, California-based company was told by the same court last month to post the initial notice as part of a ruling that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets didn’t copy the design of Apple’s iPad.
“I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this,” Judge Robin Jacob said today. “That is a plain breach of the order.”
An Apple Inc. iPad 2, left, and a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer are arranged for a photograph in Seoul. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
The decision is the latest in a lawsuit that dates back to a July judgment in which a London judge said the design for three Galaxy tablets didn’t infringe Apple’s registered design because they were not “cool” enough.
The court’s initial order to post a notice was designed to correct the impression that the South Korean company was copying Apple’s product. Apple’s post, criticized by judges today, inserted four paragraphs including excerpts of the original “cool” ruling and details of similar German lawsuits that the court today said weren’t true.
The notice has created the “impression that the U.K. court is out of step with other courts,” Henry Carr, Samsung’s lawyer, said in a filing to the judges.
“It was clear the judges were not happy with what Apple had done,” Gary Moss, a lawyer at EIP Partnership LLP who attended today’s hearing, but isn’t involved in the case, said in a phone interview. “They thought Apple was playing fast and loose.”
Alan Hely, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment on the ruling. Michael Beloff, a lawyer for the company, told the court that the comments were in line with the original order.
The notice “is not designed to punish, it is not designed to makes us grovel,” Beloff said in court today. “The only purpose is to dispel commercial uncertainty.”
Apple’s request for 14 days to make the changes was rejected.
“I would like to see the head of Apple make an affidavit setting out the technical difficulties which means Apple can’t put this on” their website, Jacob said. “I just can’t believe the instructions you’ve been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?”
Bitter patent and trademark disputes are playing out in courts around the globe as rivals including HTC Corp. (2498), Apple and Samsung fight for dominance in the smartphone and tablet computer markets. The Court of Appeal in an Oct. 18 ruling that called for the website notice criticized the split rulings from different national courts.
In August, Apple won a $1.05 billion U.S. jury verdict in a patent case between the companies, while a week later a Tokyo court ruled Samsung products don’t infringe an Apple invention for synchronizing music and video data with servers.
A German court in July granted Apple a Europe-wide injunction preventing Samsung from selling one model. Australian and Dutch courts have also issued rulings that contrasted with decisions in the U.S. case.
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