Apple Judgment Hard to Chew

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On October 18th, Apple was ordered to put a notice on its website saying that Samsung’s tablet did not infringe Apple’s iPad.  This remedy was a result of a judgment by a U.K. district court declaring that Samsung’s three tablets did not infringe Apple’s famous iPad.  The U.K. appellate court later affirmed the district court judgment in October.  The district court decision produced in July maintained that Samsung’s tablets were not “cool” enough to infringe Apple’s iPad.  This is a win for Apple right?  Well the U.K. appellate court decided to remedy Apple’s false accusation of Samsung’s infringement by forcing Apple to put a notice of non-infringement on their website.  The only problem is that Apple’s apology wasn’t nice enough, according to the U.K. appellate court judges residing over the decision.

Apple framed their notice in a positive way that inserted parts of the decision saying Samsung’s tablets were not cool enough.  This addition angered Samsung, and the judges agreed that Apple would have to take the notice down within 24 hours and replace it with a curative notice.    Judge Robin Jacob of the UK Court of Appeal said that, “I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order.”  Apple asked for 14 days to cure the inappropriate post on its website, but the court swiftly denied that request, not accepting an argument that a company such as Apple could not re-post something on their website right away.  Michael Beloff, a lawyer for Apple stated that the notice “is not designed to punish, it is not designed to makes us grovel.  The only purpose is to dispel commercial uncertainty.”  Do you think that it is warranted for Apple to cure the possible consumer misconception it created?  Was any notice to consumers good enough?

Sources:

Bloomberg

BBC

 

4 comments

  1. Wow. This is not how major corporations should act. It is petty and shameful. The UK court gave Apple a simple order. The statement only had to say that Samsung’s tablet did not infringe on Apple’s iPad. That was all. Mentioning other court decisions from other countries favoring Apple is incredibly disrespectful to the UK court. Moreover, it confuses the reader. The purpose of the statement was merely to “dispel commercial uncertainty,” but bringing in opposing information, especially information that the UK court deemed “incorrect and misleading,” flies in the face of the intent of the statement.
    As for the remark about Samsung’s tablet not being “cool” enough to be confused for an iPad, there is no place for advertising and name-calling in a court ordered statement. Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world, not a grade school student. This tells me that the spirit of Steve Jobs is alive and well in Apple culture, because after reading his biography, I can say with confidence that this is exactly the type of thing he would do in this situation.

  2. Personally, I like Apple’s response to the court order. I do not feel that this constitutes a breach of the order required by the U.K court. The court merely said that Apple was to put a notice of non-infringement on their website stating that Samsung did not infringe upon the IPad. Apple did just that while using statements that were available in the district court decision, which was affirmed on the Appellate Court Level. The purpose was to “dispel of commercial uncertainty” and that is exactly what Apple did per court order, regardless if they decided to use the statements contained in the court decision to bolster their product. They used this remedy as a marketing tool to distinguish their product from Samsung’s. Although it was somewhat of an empty apology, from as far as I know there were no guidelines as to what and how to post this remedy. So to answer the question, I do believe that any notice was good enough and appropriate to comply with the remedy imposed by the court.

  3. In my opinion, Apple got what it deserves. The latest order, issued on Tuesday by Judge Birss told Apple that the notice on its British web-site telling visitors that Samsung did not infringe its design patent must remain on the site for six months. The order also requires that Apple ads in various British publications such as the Financial Times and The Daily Mail that, to the same effect, clear Samsung’s name. Attorneys for Apple issued statements that the company will appeal the first order, mentioned in Matt’s article, and have yet to comment on Tuesday’s order. The battle among Apple and Samsung is not confined to Britain; here in the United States Apple has successfully enjoined Samsung from selling a number of its devices, at least temporarily. While a jury trial is set for July to take place in California, the two companies have other reciprocal claims filed in France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the Netherlands. Apple’s main complaint: Samsung smartphones and tablets look, feel and operate too much like its iPhones and iPads. While Judge Birss disagreed, I guess a jury will have to decide if there is any truth to that allegation in the United States. As for their other battles abroad, it appears that both Apple and Samsung will be making countless court appearances in the upcoming months.

  4. I agree with Peter on this topic. In my opinion, the court went too far by ordering Apple to re-write the apology because they weren’t apologetic enough. All that was required by the court was to state publicly that there was no infringement by Samsung. This alone is an absurd punishment and the equivalent of a parent shaming their child. Apple publicly acknowledged the non-infringement as per the court’s order, however, did so in a way that was positive. Where is the problem? Does Apple have to be put in the stocks in the middle of the town square for all the public to see? Should we brand Apple with a scarlet letter? It seems evident that the court was trying to shame the company rather than simply force them to publicly acknowledge Samsung was not infringing.

    Furthermore, Apple did not do or say anything in their apology that was incorrect. The courts were the ones that branded Samsung as “not cool enough” to have infringed. Should the court also be forced to apologize for hurting Samsung’s feelings with that comment? The first apology succeeded in publicizing that Samsung was not infringing upon Apple’s iPad, and the court went too far to humiliate Apple.

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