Apple’s public apology in the UK to Samsung … might be legal, but is not exactly an apology


You have just got to love the Apple PR department, it appears to be staffed with people who can take what appears to be a complete PR disaster and turn it into something quite amusing and positive – This is Marketing at its very best.

To illustrate what I’m on about, let me tell you a story from not too long ago. A well-known UK mobile company found that due to an IT glitch they were unable to capture text message events within their billing system, and disaster of disasters, it would take six months to fix … what to do? Easy, launch an advertising campaign and tell everybody about it, and so that is exactly what they did … “Sign Up and receive free text messages for the first six months” was the banner they ran with, now that was smart.

Well, the latest Apply/Samsung tussle has resulted in a UK high-court directive that mandated that Apple must post a notice on its website that says Samsung did not copy its products with the Galaxy line-up of tablets and smartphones. Yikes, what a disaster for Apple … Oh but wait (I bet you can see where this might be going) … the full wording is here, and starts out as one would expect …

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 notinfringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the Highcourt is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html.

And then it comes, they explain …

In the ruling, the judge made several important points comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products:

“The extreme simplicity of the Apple design is striking. Overall it has undecorated flat surfaces with a plate of glass on the front all the way out to a very thin rim and a blank back. There is a crisp edge around the rim and a combination of curves, both at the corners and the sides. The design looks like an object the informed user would want to pick up and hold. It is an understated, smooth and simple product. It is a cool design.

So there you have it, an official UK high-court ruling that the Apple design is “cool”.

They don’t stop there, but then move on to also note …

“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.

And so they now have an official UK high-court ruling on this, it is now a legal fact in the UK that Samsung products are not as cool as Apple products.

Ah why stop there, after sticking the knife in, why not twist it a few times as well …

However, 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.

You really have got to love Apple diplomacy … which basically appears to involve the fine art of telling Samsung to go to hell while legally conforming to the UK court order.

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