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A UK Court of Appeals has ruled that a High Court judge's decision that Samsung did not violate Apple's EU design rights for the iPad will stand, according to the BBC. Unless Apple decides to appeal to the UK's Supreme Court, it will be forced to advertise publicly that Samsung did not copy the iPad, despite Apple's vociferous claims to the contrary.
Apple had previously filed lawsuits against Samsung in the US and Germany, alleging (among other things) that Samsung copied the design of the iPad for its Galaxy Tab line of tablets. Samsung retaliated by filing a lawsuit in the UK to have its designs declared non-infringing. The UK was chosen as a tactical venue because its High Court tends to rule in favor alleged infringers over patent or design rightsholders, and because any High Court ruling would likely influence German courts' decisions.
In July, High Court Judge Colin Birss ruled that the Galaxy Tab designs were different enough not to confuse consumers. Samsung's tablets "do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design," Birss noted. "They are not as cool."
Birss later ruled that Apple would have to post a notice of the ruling on its UK website, as well as advertise in prominent UK publications that Samsung did not copy the iPad. The punishment was designed to "correct the damaging impression" Apple had given Samsung that it was a copycat.The three-judge appeals panel agreed with Birss' stipulations. "The acknowledgment must come from the horse's mouth," the ruling said. "Nothing short of that will be sure to do the job completely."
Judge Sir Robin Jacob explained that the case ultimately wasn't about whether or not Samsung "copied" the 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," he said.Jacob noted that Samsung's prominent logo on the front, the differences in edge shapes, and the fact that Galaxy Tabs are "altogether busier" make them different enough from Apple's registered design as a matter of law.
Samsung, for its part, continued to hammer on the notion that the global dispute is nothing more than Apple trying to lay claim to rounded rectangles. "We continue to believe that Apple 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," a Samsung spokesperson told the BBC.
Apple did not respond this morning to our request for comment on the matter.