Appeal Court orders Apple Retraction

Law

The Court of Appeal yesterday ordered Apple to re-write a statement on its website confirming a previous judgment that certain Samsung Galaxy Tab computers do not infringe its registered design. The Judges were somewhat scathing of Apple’s choice of wording and its request to delay the re-write.

Background: on 16th July 2012, the UK High Court ruled against Apple in its registered design action against Samsung – see here for a summary. The decision had effect throughout the EU and attracted much media attention. The judgment included an order requiring Apple to display a notice on its website and in various publications referring to the non-infringement ruling.

Such publicity orders are relatively new to the UK intellectual property scene and are issued at the judge’s discretion primarily to dispel commercial uncertainty. Apple predictably appealed the ruling - this was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 18th October 2012 and so Apple had to comply with the publicity order thereafter.

What Apple actually put on its website was not to Samsung’s satisfaction. Their view was that the notice suggested that the UK court was out of step with other courts which had ruled in Apple’s favour. It was also contended that the statement contained inaccuracies.

Samsung went back to the Court of Appeal, asking for a revised version to be displayed by Apple, and the Judges were happy to oblige.

Sir Robin Jacob QC indicated that he was “completely at a loss to understand how a company like Apple could do such a thing”.  Even more surprising was the fourteen day period requested by Apple’s lawyer to post the altered statement. There were, apparently, technical reasons why it could not be done any quicker. Sir Robin Jacob again indicated his displeasure at the IT giant’s excuse, stating that he could not believe the instructions given to Apple’s lawyer and requiring an Affidavit from their CEO detailing why it would take fourteen days. Failing that, Apple would be required to publish their revised statement within 48 hours.