When Apple brought its case against the Samsung Galaxy Tabs to The High Court of Justice of England and Wales, no one – least of all Apple – could’ve predicted the story that would unfold.
The Californians have enjoyed Samsung-punching courtroom success to varying degrees in Germany and the US (a stone’s throw from its headquarters, ahem), but it was an altogether different story in the UK.
Apple claimed that the iPad was unique in having “slightly rounded corners”, a “flat transparent surface without any ornamentation”, and a “thin profile”.
Much to Apple’s chagrin, The High Court effectively laughed in Team Cupertino’s face, citing approximately 50 “examples of prior art” – including HP’s TC1000, and even referencing Knight Rider. Great stuff.
But the humiliation didn’t end there. Far from it.
In the days following the ruling, we learned that UK judge Colin Birss wasn’t happy simply to rule in the South Koreans’ favour; he insisted Apple yell from the rooftops that Samsung did not copy the iPad.
Said yelling was to take the form of advertisements across several newspapers and magazines, and – here’s where it gets interesting – a clear statement on Apple’s UK site, fully exonerating Samsung, and remaining in place for six months.
Needless to say, Apple appealed the controversial decision, and was initially granted a stay of execution pending an appeal hearing in October. At the time we figured it’d all blow over, but we were thankful to Birss for the laughs. Heck, even Jan predicted Apple’s appeal would be upheld.
But nope; no amount of sobbing from Apple was enough to overturn the decision, and it was told to hurry up and do the necessary.
Shortly thereafter, Apple’s statement went live on its UK site, however it wasn’t quite what was asked for – or expected.
Far from being a bland statement absolving Samsung, Apple opted to include much cheekiness, effectively saying: “Yeah, The High Court of England and Wales ruled in Samsung’s favour, but…”
They even went as far as to quote the judge, who’d observed: “The [iPad] 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."
Worse still, Apple concluded: “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.”
To no one’s surprise, Apple was ordered to try again, with a clear statement accompanying a link to the boring details. Astoundingly, the Californians – one of the most successful companies in the world – claimed it’d take 14 days to amend their site. Fourteen days! The judge gave them 48 hours.
Incredibly, despite everything that had gone before, Apple still wasn’t done with its trickery.
The new statement explained: “On 25 October 2012, Apple Inc. published a statement on its UK website in relation to Samsung's Galaxy tablet computers. That statement was inaccurate and did not comply with the order of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales.” All good so far.
More recently, Apple was ordered to pay Samsung’s legal fees on an indemnity basis, on account of its tomfoolery.
And that – touch wood – is the end of that. Somewhat ironically, all told, Apple has spent a fortune giving publicity to the Samsung Galaxy Tabs, when no one bloomin’ cared about them in the first place. Nice work, Apple.