In what sounds like an elementary-school punishment, Apple has followed through on a mandate from a United Kingdom court to post a public apology to Samsung. The public notice says Samsung didn't infringe on its intellectual property with its Galaxy tablets and smartphones.
Apple responded, but was somewhat defiant. The iPad-maker published a notice, but it was less of an apology and more of an acknowledgment of what the judge ruled. The High Court of Justice in England and Wales decided that the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe on Apple's iPad design patent.
Apple Acknowledges Ruling
Apple posted a notice that acknowledged the court ruled in Samsung's favor on July 9 and linked to the case. Apple also noted that in the ruling, the judge made "several important points" comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products. Apple then outlined those points:
"Overall [the design] 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 judge wrote of Apple's iPad.
"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."
The Battle Continues
Apple noted that the judgment has effect throughout the European Union and was upheld by the Court of Appeal on Oct. 18, but there is no injunction in respect of the registered design in force anywhere in Europe. Apple then continued to support its own points.
"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," Apple said. "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."
If you are wondering where the apology is, there really isn't one. It is unclear if the notice will satisfy the U.K. court's requirement. At the end of the day, the market battle still rages between Samsung and Apple.
"Samsung sells a lot more products at a lot more price points," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis. "I don't know that Apple looks at Samsung's market share and thinks, 'Woe is me.' I think Apple is looking at its unit sales growing at a very healthy clip.
"Right now, they are supply constrained. There's tons of demand. They simple can't make iPhone 5s fast enough and Apple is making tons and tons of money. At the end of the day, that's what businesses are in business for -- to make money."
Posted: 2012-10-27 @ 4:41am PT
Hopefully, they will be dragged in front of the bench again by their ears, because what they are effectively doing is rejecting the jurisdiction of the court.
As for the market share vs. the unit sales issue, I think Greengart is taking a very myopic view here. Making money today is good and fine but the question is can you make money tomorrow? And when Android acquires an overwhelming market share, it will increasingly be questionable for other companies to accomodate for iOS. Apple has already once learned what it means when a competitor's OS becomes a quasi-standard - and it almost broke them.
Posted: 2012-10-27 @ 1:30am PT
Apple should be charged with contempt of court - it's not an apology but a gloat. And those judges should be more careful when they introduce personal preferences to justify professional opinions.
Posted: 2012-10-26 @ 4:40pm PT
Seriously, Apple. What are you, like five?
Posted: 2012-10-26 @ 3:44pm PT
iDirty, iHorrible, iStinking iCompany