Last week, the High Court of England & Wales ruled that Samsung Tabs were distinctive enough not to be confused with the iPad. The High Court dismissed Apple’s arguments by referring to approximately 50 examples of prior art, and identified distinctive differences between Samsung’s products and Apple’s iPad. In fact, somewhat embarrassingly for Samsung, Judge Colin Birss stated that the Tabs don’t infringe on Apple’s designs because they are “not as cool”. “They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design”, he noted in his ruling.
Now the same judge has struck another blow to Apple, which had stuck to its original stance even after the previous ruling. Birss has instructed Apple to publish a notice on its U.K. website and run advertisements in prominent British newspapers and magazines notifying consumers that Samsung didn’t plagiarize its designs. However, he declined to grant Samsung’s bid for an injunction blocking Apple from making public statements that the Galaxy infringed its design rights.
Essentially, Apple is being forced to advertise its competitor’s products out of its own pocket. The Cupertino based giant, which was initially looking to block the sale of the Galaxy Tab 7.7, Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9, will undoubtedly be disappointed with the ruling. However, even though Samsung might have cause to celebrate now, it must ask itself how it is going to lure the gadget enthusiasts if even a judge finds its products unappealing. If I were Apple, I would certainly rub it in by highlighting the “not as cool” remark in the advertisements.