How embarrassing. A Judge in the UK has demanded Apple [AAPL] pay for a series of ads in which it claims Samsung did not "copy" the iPad design. That's strange, because in the US a second Judge has declared the two firm's tablets to be near identical. Naturally, Apple will appeal against the UK court order.
[ABOVE: Today's inspirational Steve Jobs quote, c/o BusinessInsider.]
Apple will appeal
We know Apple will appeal this judgment. Bloomberg writes: "Apple’s lawyer said the company would appeal the July 9 decision and Judge Birss granted the company permission to take its case to the court of appeal."
I approached Apple for a comment on the case this morning, but the company declined to do so, saying: "We are declining to comment on the decision".
I've been a little convinced until now at Apple's argument that there's an imitative quality to the Samsung product. I'm no lawyer, so that's no more than lay opinion, but UK Judge Colin Birss insists Apple must post a statement on its own UK website and in the press in which it admits the 9 July ruling that Samsung did not infringe on iPad designs with its Galaxy Tab range of tablets.
The decision that Apple must make an apology to Samsung in the UK in this way is picking up all kinds of coverage, with Phandroid folk as ever laughing harshly at Cupertino's public humiliation.
Some are arguing that despite a US court finding diametrically opposed to that coming out of the UK it indicates that Samsung isn't the copycat company after all. If we're honest, of course, it's too early to declare this to be the case: trials in the US and the UK will continue as both firms appeal the earlier court decisions.
Form your own opinion
This doesn't mean you can't have the opinion that Samsung copied the iPad. The UK Judge kicked out a Samsing injunction enjoining Apple to stop claiming its competitor copied iPad in the Galaxy Tab. "They're entitled to their opinion," the Judge said. By inference this also means we are entitled to ours.
Samsung’s lawyers have drawn up a draft copy of an order stating Apple must pay for notices in the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, Guardian Mobile magazine and T3.
The Korean firm isn't pulling any punches in its reaction to the new findings in the case. Samsung states:
"Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited."
That consumer choice may also be limited by tactical use and licensing of FRAND patents has been a discussion held elsewhere. My take upon which is that at best no one in the current smartphone litigation wars can be seen as entirely blameless in harming consumer choice through a simple inability to reach some form of peace deal.
My opinion? At best no one is blameless, at worst all participants are equally to blame. It doesn't matter who launched the first lawsuit.
A long way from the end game
What matters is that given a chance to fight a few battles in the courts all participants have instead acted to launch new skirmishes as the patent litigation explodes in a mushroom cloud of mutually assured destruction.
As far as I can tell, no one on any side seems ready to sit down and figure out a deal.
Samsung's UK victory isn't without a cost. The same Judge has also declared that the reason the Tab isn't an iPad imitator is, quite simply, because it is "not as cool" as the iPad.
Meanwhile in the US, Judge Kohl has found the two devices more or less identical.
This story will (unfortunately) run and run. As will the thousands of people currently gathering outside Foxconn factories in China in hope for jobs on the iPhone 5 and iPad mini production lines.
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