It was only a week ago that Apple lost its appeal to a U.K. High Court, where it was seeking to overturn a previous ruling that resulted in the iPad and iPhone maker being forced to publish a notice on its U.K. Web site stating that rival Samsung did not copy its products.
The notice has now been taken down, after Apple was ordered to replace it following objections from Samsung to its content.
The lengthy legal battle between Apple and Samsung, which has been fought in several countries and courts worldwide, revolves around both tech giants stating that the other had copied their designs and infringed on various patents. Although Apple was awarded $1 billion in damages for patent infringement in a U.S. court, the U.K.'s justice system took a different view of the spat.
On October 18, a U.K. High Court appeals judge ruled that Samsung did not infringe upon Apple's tablet design patents -- after an earlier ruling by Judge Colin Birss which found no patent infringement and stated that Samsung's products were not as "cool" as the iPad. Birss also ruled that Apple was required to run notices on both its U.K. Web site and in various publications saying that Samsung did not infringe on any of its tablet patents.
The notices were delayed after the iPad and iPhone maker was granted a stay on the ruling, but after losing an appeal, Apple was required to publish the statement, and leave it in place on its U.K. Web site for one month.
Apple added a link to its U.K. homepage, titled "Samsung/Apple UK judgment." The contained two particularly telling paragraphs:
"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." "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. "
Samsung complained about the original statement, the Telegraph reported, saying parts of it were untrue. The Court of Appeal judge Sir Robin Jacob concurred, saying: "I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order", and ordered Apple to replace the notice within 24 hours -- despite Apple's claim it would take two weeks to update the site.
The link on Apple U.K. site to the original statement has now been removed -- but no replacement has yet appeared.
Meanwhile, Apple on Friday published a statement regarding the Samsung case in U.K. newspapers. The statement is formed from two paragraphs from the original notice -- whether this constitutes the updated statement in its entirety will only become clear once the revised notice is added to the U.K. site.
The apology printed in newspapers today reads:
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 not infringe Apple's registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High court is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html. 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.