Author: Eddie Powell
Further to the update below, the court has ordered Apple to publish announcements that Samsung did not copy the design of its iPad.
The notice must remain on Apple’s website for at least six months and must specifically refer to the judgment below to “correct the damaging impression” that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets had mimicked the appearance of Apple’s products.
Ever since the first iPad hit the market in 2010, companies around the world have been trying to share some of the market space by releasing their own tablet computers. Apple has always fought hard to protect its intellectual property and has never been shy of going to court to do so.
In recent months Apple has seen a growth in its competitors’ sales, particularly amongst those running Google’s Android operating system. The main player in the Android market is Samsung, whose ‘Galaxy’ tablets and smartphones have been the subject of a worldwide intellectual property battle with Apple.
Apple sued Samsung in 2011 on the grounds that it had “slavishly copied” both aesthetic and technological designs protected by design rights issued in 2009 and 2010.
This week the High Court rejected Apple’s claims. The judge believed that informed users would be able to spot the difference between the products. He did, however, offer some consolation to Apple in saying: “They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.”
He went on to conclude: “They are not as cool. The overall impression produced is different.”
This is the second high profile defeat for Apple in less than a week. HTC, the Taiwanese Android manufacturer, were successful in defending a similar infringement claim. However, this time the court decided that the patents Apple were relying on were invalid.
A spokesperson for Apple said after the hearing: “This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.” Apple will now have 21 days to consider whether to appeal the decision in the Samsung case, and have claims pending against them in the German and US courts.