While another appeal between Apple and Samsung over copyright issues has reached a temporary conclusion, their argument in the UK will now result in a commercial role reversal of sorts, with Apple now ordered to undo the damage that their initial victory in July had done to Samsung’s brand image in the region.
The original case in the High Court had ruled that the frontal appearance of the rival product brands (Samsung Galaxy Tab and the predated iPad from Apple) were ‘very, very similar’ according to Judge Colin Birss, despite also recognising differences with the respective backs. Judge Birss had also less professionally remarked that the Samsung design was ‘not as cool’ as the Apple device, stating at the time that it did not feature the: “extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.”
However, it appears as though Birss’ decision has now been overruled at the Court of Appeal, as while it is claimed that there are ‘some parts’ of the Galaxy Tab bearing similarity to an iPad, it is not enough to properly infringe on the competing design.
The defeat for Apple now means that as an order following the ruling, Apple are required to post prominent adverts on their UK website and in a number of local newspapers and magazines to clearly state that Samsung have not copied from them. These explanatory adverts are to remain in circulation for no less than six months, in an initiative to ‘correct the damaging impression’ that the case made on Samsung’s reputation.
The South Korean company, like many people fed up with Apple getting their own way over trivial matters, were naturally pleased with the Court of Appeal’s verdict, as a Samsung spokeswoman stated: “We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners and that the origins of Apple’s registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art. Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims in other countries based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited.”
With the pair nowhere near finished with court cases around the world, will more courts follow this decision and support Samsung’s ‘not guilty’ plea in the patent cases?