A UK judge has ordered Apple to run ads declaring that Samsung did not copy the design of the iPad for its Galaxy Tab, in the latest twist (and in my opinion, JUSTICE DELIVERED) to the ongoing battle between Apple and Samsung.
The Judgement Against Apple
Judge Birss declared that Apple must publish a notice on its U.K. website, and in British newspapers, that alert users to a ruling which states that Samsung did not copy the designs for the iPad.
- Not only does Apple have to run the ads for Samsung on its site for 6 months, it must also pay to print ads in newspapers like the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, Guardian Mobile magazine, and T3.
- Although the UK website will run the notice, it is effectively an ad for Samsung, and Apple has declined to comment on this issue. We can expect them to be particularly miffed as no company likes to run ads for its competitor.
- However, Samsung lost the proposal to make Apple display this notice across all of Apple’s European websites.
- This ruling, on July 18, came on the back of Judge Birss’ previous ruling on July 9, after which Apple had stated:
It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.
What Does The Samsung vs Apple Judgement Say?
According to the copy of the verdict available here, Judge Briss said that the Galaxy and Apple iPad looked somewhat similar with respect to the screens.
The view from the front is really very striking. The Galaxy tablets are not identical to the Apple design but they are very, very similar in this respect. The Samsung tablets use the very same screen, with a flat glass plate out to a very thin rim and a plain border under the glass.
However, he later said that there were 2 striking differences between the iPad and Galaxy table, one was their width, and the other was the detailing on the back.
The most important difference between the Samsung Galaxy tablets and the Apple design is the thinness of the Galaxy tablets. The next most significant difference is the detailing on the back of each of the tablets.
He considered the Galaxy Tab 7.7 to lay down his judgement, as it had the least prominent detailing. According to him,
I will consider the Tab 7.7 since to my eye that has the least visually prominent detailing. If the Tab 7.7 does not infringe, then neither does the Tab 10.1 nor Tab 8.9.
Laying down his final judgement, Judge Birss said that even though the iPad and Galaxy Tabs looked different from the front, their thickness and detailing distinguished them from each other. Handing the verdict in Samsung’s favor, he said:
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 overall impression produced is different.The Samsung tablets do not infringe Apple’s registered design No. 000181607-0001.
How Apple and Samsung Reacted
Apple declined to comment on the verdict given by Judge Birss. However, Apple spokesman Alan Hely had said the following without mentioning the July 9 hearing:
It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property.
Samsung, on the other hand, was much more vocal about the judgement by Judge Birss.
- Samsung’s lawyer Kathryn Pickard defended the verdict, arguing that Apple”s lawsuits had caused “real commercial harm” to Samsung.
- In response to the threat of further lawsuits, Samsung said:
Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited.
I guess its about time that Apple cools down and starts thinking about pushing back Android rather than fight lawsuits.