Apple loses appeal over UK ruling on Samsung tablet design

Apple has lost an appeal against July’s UK court ruling in which a judge decided that Samsung did not infringe the iPad-creator’s design rights with the Galaxy Tab 10 tablet.

The July ruling attracted a lot of attention at the time because Judge Colin Birss, in a kind of backhanded compliment, said that Samsung’s devices were not as “cool” because they lacked the “extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design”.

Judge Birss also told Apple to run press adverts saying Samsung had not infringed its rights and that a notice should stay on Apple’s website for at least half a year. That was delayed until the result of the appeal, but the order has now been repeated by Judge Kitchin at the High Court.

According to Reuters, today’s London High Court decision is valid throughout Europe. Darren Smyth, partner at specialist IP law firm eIP, told the news agency, “An appeal to the Supreme Court is in principle possible but there has been no indication so far that Apple plan such an appeal. For the design of tablets in Europe this should be the final word.”

A Samsung spokesperson quoted by the BBC said it welcomed the result of the appeal ruling. “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.”

They added, “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.”

There has been no comment from Apple at the time of writing. The company has so far been unsuccessful in most of its court cases against Samsung over tablet designs. In the US, however, it won a high profile case against Samsung earlier this year regarding smartphone design and software patents, resulting in a $1.05bn fine. Samsung is now appealing this verdict.

Sir Robin Jacob, one of three judges involved in the Court of Appeal review, told the BBC, “It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple’s 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. So this case is all about, and only about, Apple’s registered design and the Samsung products.”

Via Reuters and BBC News

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