In an ongoing patent battle between leading smartphone makers, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) lost its appeal against a ruling, which will force Apple to run ads, saying Samsung (LON:BC94) had not infringed its design rights. The judges ruled against the Apple, thinking that an Apple design-rights victory against Samsung in the German courts risked causing confusion in consumers’ minds.
In July, a high court judge in London, ruled that the look’s of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab computers was not too similar to those of registered iPad designs, in fact the judge went on to say the Samsung’s devices were not as “cool”, because they lacked Apple’s “extreme simplicity”.
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The iPhone maker will still have to run the ads saying Samsung had not infringed its rights. After the earlier judgment by the UK judge, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was ordered to place a notice to that effect – with a link to the original judgment – on its website and place other adverts in the Daily Mail, Financial Times, T3 Magazine, and other publications to “correct the damaging impression” that Samsung was a copycat.
A spokeswoman for Samsung said it welcomed the latest ruling. “We continue to believe that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) 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”. She added, “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”.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) claimed that the front of the tablet and overall shape of the tablets was the most important factor, as a majority of the time, users look at tablet screen. One of the three involved judges in the appeal review, who owned an iPad himself, explained the reason why the claim from Apple was dismissed, “Because this case (and parallel cases in other countries) has generated much publicity, it will avoid confusion to say what this case is about and not about,” and added “It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple’s iPad. Infringement of a registered design does not involve any question of whether there was copying: the issue is simply whether the accused design is too close to the registered design, according to the tests laid down in the law”.
“So this case is all about, and only about, Apple’s registered design and the Samsung products,” wrote Sir Robin Jacob. He further said that Samsung’s logo on the front of its devices distinguished them from Apple’s registered design, which said there should be “no ornamentation”, and also iPad’s sharp edges were significantly different from those of the Galaxy Tabs. Apart from these, Samsung devices have a more varied use of color and include a thicker section, to house a camera.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) still has the option to appeal in the UK Supreme Court; otherwise the ruling will apply to whole of the European Union.