Apple's mea culpa: U.K. site posts apology, new statement

After testing a British court's patience with a not so apologetic public statement, the iPhone and iPad maker is finally eating humble pie.

Apple's U.K. Web site now includes a prominent, hard to miss apology after a U.K. appeals court found a previously published statement to be "untrue." Screenshot by Zack Whittaker/CNET

Apple has reissued and updated its Samsung "apology" statement on its British Web site after a U.K. Court of Appeal found it to be "untrue" and "incorrect."

It comes off weeks of back and forth from the U.K. courts after Samsung scored a rare legal win over Apple, after the iPhone and iPad maker lost an iPad design patent suit it brought to the British court against rival tablet maker Samsung.

On October 18, U.K. High Court Judge Colin Birss originally ruled that Apple must run notices on its U.K. Web site and in a number of U.K. print publications stating that Samsung did not infringe Apple's patents and therefore did not breach U.K. law.

Birss ruled that the notice must stay on Apple's site for one month.

After Samsung complained to a U.K. Court of Appeal that an earlier version of Apple's statement was inaccurate, on Thursday Apple was ordered to remove the statement, in which the technology giant embellished the "apology" with additional detail that was not sanctioned by the court.

Apple's U.K. Web site now admits its previous statement was not compliant with the court, stating:

On 25 October 2012, Apple Inc. published a statement on its UK website in relation to Samsung's Galaxy tablet computers. That statement was inaccurate and did not comply with the order of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. The correct statement is at Samsung/Apple UK judgement.

Apple had previously won a number of victories forcing Samsung products off the shelves in Europe, and a $1 billion damages win for Apple in a U.S. court .

But in losing a rare patent battle in the British courts, Apple included its own opinion in the statement along with the court-ordered text in a bid to lessen the impact.

The original Apple statement included quotes from Birss stating that the Apple iPad was "a cool design," while noting the Samsung products were "not as cool." Apple's final paragraph in the "expanded" statement made it clear that the U.K. ruling in Samsung's favor was a rare, one-off event .

Speaking on Thursday, U.K. appeals court judge Robin Jacob said: "I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this," adding that Apple had committed a "plain breach of that order" by expanding the statement on its U.K. Web site.

The "Samsung/Apple UK judgment" page now includes two paragraphs, both set out by the U.K. High Court in its original judgment on October 18.

On Friday, Apple's 'apology' note appeared in a number of British newspapers , including The Guardian, The Daily Mail, and The Telegraph, but did not contain any other detail besides the court-sanctioned paragraphs.

The statement on Apple's U.K. Web site now reads the same as the apology printed in newspapers this week:

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.

 

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