UK Court Shoots Down Apple Patent Appeal

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The High Court in London upheld an earlier ruling that said Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet line doesn't infringe on Apple's patents. The earlier ruling sided with Samsung, and requires Apple to publish a statement saying that the electronics maker isn't infringing on its patents.

Judge Colin Birss ordered Apple to run ads saying Samsung isn't copying its designs in in July as part of his patent infringement ruling. He said at the time, "[Samsung's tablet designs] do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool."

Apple may have to run pro-Samsung ads in the UKApple may have to run pro-Samsung ads in the UK

The ruling said that Apple must post a statement on its website, and place ads in The Financial Times, The Daily Mail, Guardian Mobile magazine, and T3 stating that Samsung isn't copying the iPad design.

Apple filed an appeal in an effort to reverse the ruling saying Samsung isn't infringing, and to block the requirement that it run ads that essentially support a direct competitor. With the appeal shot down, Apple can appeal to the UK Supreme Court, or it will now have to run the pro-Samsung ads -- a move its legal team said would cause Apple "irreparable and disproportionate harm."

The High Court, however, thinks the ads need to run and that the "acknowledgement must come from the horse's mouth. Nothing short of that will be sure to do the job completely," according to the BBC.

The judges chose to leave the earlier ruling in place because they felt a reversal would cause confusion for consumers since Apple has a similar case against Samsung in German courts, too.

Apple hasn't commented on the ruling, but it's a safe bet the company's legal team is already working on its Supreme Court appeal.

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I know that I’ve said this before, and while I too am certain Apple’s legal team will exhaust every appeal before submitting to this court order, I maintain that it may be an opportunity for Apple.

Without doubt, Apple and Samsung are in a de facto state of war. The judge has ruled that Samsung’s tablets do not infringe, as they lack the ‘understated and extreme simplicity’ and that they are not ‘as cool’ as Apple’s iPad. He didn’t rule that Samsung didn’t try to copy. There is nothing about motive here.

As I see it, what the judge has stated, and what he has omitted, are canon fodder. He has painted a target on Samsung, put them in Apple’s cross hairs, and now, ordered Apple to take a shot. If I were Apple’s leadership, I’d make that shot count. My message would direct and simple. The iPad is unique. Samsung, an erstwhile partner, had access to the specs. They tried, and now by judgement of a court, failed to replicate the understated simplicity and elegance of the iPad; in fact, the court ruled that Samsung’s tablets are ‘not as cool’. 

Outside of the UK, but accessible to all of its people, I would hit Samsung with something they have used on Apple’s customers, but for which they have demonstrated little tolerance. Ridicule. I would mount a satirical advert campaign skewering every one of Samsung’s failed attempts at copying Apple, coupled with the US court ruling that they are, in fact, an infringer. They succeeded in copying the iPhone, they failed to copy the iPad.

I would run this campaign with such ferocity, that I would not regard it a success until Samsung went before the court and demanded that we desist. The court would have no jurisdiction over our international campaign, which we would continue. Mercilessly. Going for blood in the water? We wouldn’t stop until there were body parts. Nothing personal. Business is war by other means.

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