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Apple Loses UK Appeal; Could End Some Litigation

The appeals court said the case wasn’t about Samsung ripping off Apple

Apple finds itself in the enraging position of having to deny in print that Samsung copied its iPad technology after losing an appeal to the UK's Court of Appeals Thursday.

It was protesting a High Court decision this summer that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 couldn't possibly infringe on Apple's design patent because it wasn't as "cool" as the iPad.

The High Court said the Samsung tablet didn't have the "understated and extreme simplicity" of the iPad.

It ordered Apple to run ads in British newspapers, such as Daily Mail and the Financial Times, and post a notice on its web site saying Samsung didn't infringe its patent or break UK law.

The appeals court agreed. It said, "The acknowledgment must come from the horse's mouth. Nothing short of that will be sure to do the job completely."

The appeals court said the case wasn't about Samsung ripping off Apple: "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."

Apple was supposed to display the notice for six months on its web site to "correct the damaging impression" left by Apple's case but three-judge appeals panel said Apple didn't have to "clutter' its homepage. A link to a page entitled "Samsung/Apple judgment" for a month would suffice.

The ad order was stayed while Apple appealed.

The appeals found that the Galaxy Tab was sufficiently different from the iPad because of the Samsung logo on the front, its lack of "sharp edges" and its "busier" design.

Reuters said the decision should end the companies' legal tussling over the design patent across Europe since the decision is valid throughout Europe. Apple of course could appeal to the UK's Supreme Court.

Samsung said, "We welcome the court's judgment, which reaffirmed our position that our Galaxy Tab products do not infringe Apple's registered design right. 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. Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims in other countries based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited."

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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