UK judge forces Apple to publicly state Samsung didn’t copy iPad design

By , Jul 18, 2012

What goes around comes around. Following a ruling by a United Kingdom court earlier in the month stating that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets did not rip off the iPad’s design because “they are not as cool” (yeah, it’s exactly how the court put it), Judge Colin Birss today ordered that Apple publicize Samsung did not copy the iPad’s design for its Galaxy Tab tablet.

The way things are now, we can’t help but ask ourselves was it all worth it? If this is what Apple’s copyright infringement claim against Galaxy tablets boils down to, maybe Apple shouldn’t have sued in the first place. But wait ’till you hear the best part of the ruling…

According to Bloomberg reporter Kit Chellel, Apple is expected to post a public notice on both its website and British newspaper stating the obvious, that Galaxy tablets didn’t rip off the iPad’s design:

The notice should outline the July 9 London court decision that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets don’t infringe Apple’s registered designs, Judge Colin Birss said.

It should be posted on Apple’s U.K. website for six months and published in several newspapers and magazines to correct the damaging impression the South Korea-based company was copying Apple’s product, Birss said.

I had a feeling from the onset that Apple’s design claim won’t stand in court. But not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such an outcome. It boils down to this: Samsung gets moral satisfaction and free advertising and Apple is being punished in the court of public opinion.

Oh, and Samsung also gets to rub Apple’s nose in the dirt.

It’s Apple’s fault: Cupertino drew first blood by referring to Samsung in court documents as “the copyist”. The courto obviously wasn’t impressed.

It backfired.

Apple must now bear the consequences.


Image via Filomeno Martina

It is a nasty PR blow which will hurt Apple’s reputation and tarnish the brand.

Just what do you think a random visitor (or worse, a fan – or even worse, a hater) to Apple’s homepage is supposed to think upon reading a notice saying that no, Samsung did not copy the iPad – even though Apple claimed the opposite and trashed Samsung in public?

The Galaxy maker must be jumping with joy. Samsung also gets to enjoy some free advertising, courtesy of the ruling:

The order means Apple will have to publish “an advertisement” for Samsung, and is prejudicial to the company, Richard Hacon, a lawyer representing Cupertino, California-based Apple, told the court. “No company likes to refer to a rival on its website.”

I’m sure Apple will find a way to spin this in other direction to minimize damage. I also expect them to muddy the waters with ambiguous wording.

But the bottom line is, it’s still gonna be up there for the whole world to see as a shameful reminder that Apple sued Samsung over tablet designs and lost.

Maybe I’m overreacting and perhaps this whole brohuaha isn’t as depressing as it appears at first sight.

Please tell me it isn’t.

I’m down in the comments.

Note: my rumbling isn’t to overstate the obvious design similarities between Apple and Samsung products.

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  • http://twitter.com/T1rell T1rell

    Well Apple,
    if you push to hard, you end up with shit in your pants…

  • MadAndronicus

    Good read, Christian. I am glad too that apple is getting the pimp hand to the face. Smack some humbleness into them.

  • Howard Ellacott

    You spelt UK wrong, in the first line…

  • Kok Hean

    Boomerang effect :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1849765376 Jordan Rushing

    I’m about to sound like a fanboy, so bear with me for a moment…Apple totally deserves this. The Tab looks nothing like the iPad and vice-versa. The Tab, in my honest opinion, looks cooler than iPad’s simplistic and minimal design. Apple wanted to fight fire with fire and got burned. Maybe Apple will take a hint on the slavish and unprofessional things they’ve been doing. This is why I strongly prefer Android devices to my friends because it’s BS like this that makes me hate Apple. Not the products, but Apple itself. I’m sure if crap like this never happened, the new iPhone would have come out this summer and we wouldn’t be pondering what the new iPhone will look like, or what features it has, etc. Keep it up Apple, and all you’ll be doing is going down.

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

      Can you elaborate on what slavish and unprofessional things Apple does???

      Lots of companies are suing each other on IP. Even Apple has been sued for a name they had bought..

      What’s different when it comes to Android?

      Do you believe, that one should not seek to press charges against an assault on their rights? IP is a right. It is something you get, by working hard, by spending lots of money.

      Arguing whether patents are given away too loosely, is another thing (which I would agree), but good or bad, any one or any corporation would want to preserve and take advantage of the investment they’d done in the form of R&D…

      I really don’t see anything wrong with that…

      And, honestly, I really can’t see the meaning under a ruling that says “No, you’re wrong, they have not copied you, as they are not cool as you are”. It’s not about how good the other party has done the copying… It’s about whether they’ve used your research for free or not.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1849765376 Jordan Rushing

        Let’s start shall we?

        “Lots of companies are suing each other on IP. Even Apple has been sued for a name they had bought.. What’s different when it comes to Android?”

        Easy. The one thing that all binds them together: Google. I’m not going to say they haven’t pissed each other off and sued one another, but at this point in time the only person they have to worry about is Apple. WHY? Because they’re suing over frivolous and broad patents that pretty much cover basic and simple functions in a mobile phone, and when those are removed, innovation is stifled and the end product is “What you see is what you get”.

        “Do you believe, that one should not seek to press charges against an assault on their rights? IP is a right. It is something you get, by working hard, by spending lots of money.”

        Who’s assaulting their rights?…no one. WHY? Simple. What is competition? Competition is a contest between organisms, animals, individuals, groups, etc., for territory, a niche, or a location of resources, for resources and goods, for prestige, recognition, awards, mates, or group or social status, for leadership; and after knowing this, would want to be ruled by king or would you want to be your own king? Apple may have started the smartphone revolution, but they don’t deserve to have all the credit, considering all their products stole from numerous other things.

        “Arguing whether patents are given away too loosely, is another thing (which I would agree), but good or bad, any one or any corporation would want to preserve and take advantage of the investment they’d done in the form of R&D… ”

        The latter part is true. I can agree with that. But not when it’s used on purpose to hurt competition. Steve Jobs wanted to, and I quote, “destroy Android”. How is that not anti-competitive at all? I’ll leave it at that.

        “And, honestly, I really can’t see the meaning under a ruling that says “No, you’re wrong, they have not copied you, as they are not cool as you are”. It’s not about how good the other party has done the copying… It’s about whether they’ve used your research for free or not.”That’s true. It doesn’t make sense…and honestly, when I pick up a Tab, it has no other ties to Apple other than the fact that it came after the iPad…like when a new TV comes out, another one with a similar appearance pops up right behind it. Do they sue each other? Nope. They let the customer decide.

        Apple litigates, but doesn’t innovate. They could have used all the money they’ve made to better their iProducts…but no. They haven’t.

        “We’re going to sue sue sue…all of you. And don’t patent that! We’ll sue for that too” – Apple
        Lol

  • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

    they will probably put it in 1 size font on the bottom of the page

    • Falk M.

      Oh, didn’t you know? They already have it there… *shifty look* :P

  • Emre SÜMENGEN

    I guess they (Apple) should include the reason of the ruling, like “Yes, Samsung is not copying our products, as they ARE NOT AS COOL!”

    What a sh*thole judge…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Jones/100000924305932 Nick Jones

      You know that’s exactly what they are going to do. “Not as Cool!, and that’s the law.” lol

    • babybaby95

      Yes, you are right! Samsung’s product NOT COOL!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    ipad3 is the best tablet and apple needs to stop being so damn insecure..

  • http://twitter.com/markgurman Mark Gurman

    I love the Simpsons image

  • http://twitter.com/rock4mayo Rock4mayo

    eat your shit apple…:)