Judge to Apple: Don’t get smart with me

Last week I commented that Apple’s attempts to take severe liberties when posting an official statement clearing Samsung of violating their patents were a “skillful piece of public relations writing.” It turns out the judge who ordered the statement to be published strongly disagrees.

Apple was forced to put the statement on its site after losing a court case in which it claimed Samsung’s products such as the Galaxy Tab infringed on the design of the iPad.

Once the appeals process was over and the case finally lost, Apple did so. But rather than just print the statement, it added a few choice extracts from the judge’s ruling in which he said the Tab wasn’t as cool as the iPad, along with a note that Apple had prevailed in similar cases in other countries, meaning that “… other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple’s far more popular iPad.”

Judge Robin Jacob didn’t see the funny side and — contrary to how I interpreted it last week — concluded that the notice didn’t meet the letter of his ruling. He said “I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order.”

Jacob and two fellow judges have now ordered that Apple publish the statement that Samsung was found not to have breached the patents — and nothing else. Apple must also include a link and notice on their UK homepage, in at least 11 point text, noting that the original statement has been corrected.

Apple asked for 14 days to make these changes. Jacob rejected that request and is quoted as saying “I would like to see the head of Apple make an affidavit setting out the technical difficulties which means Apple can’t [immediately] put this on their website. I just can’t believe the instructions [its lawyers] have been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?”

Crafty as its handling the original statement was, it does seem fair to say Apple is going to have to admit the game is up now and move on.

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