Friday, November 09, 2012

Apple's telling off by UK Court of Appeal

The Rt Hon. Professor Sir (formally Lord Justice) Robin Jacob's polite lambasting of Apple last week is now available in full at Bailli, Neutral Citation Number: [2012] EWCA Civ 1430; Case No: A3/2012/1845. It's a fun read, particularly paragraphs 18 to 32 which I hope the Rt Hon judge won't mind me reproducing here in their entirety.
"         My conclusions as regards the Contested Notice
  1. Mr Michael Beloff QC for Apple submitted that Apple could not be held responsible for inaccurate reporting by journalists. But it can, if it contributed to that inaccuracy by inaccurate statements and false innuendo in the Contested Notice as I consider it did.

  2. For I accept all of Samsung's contentions. Firstly I do not consider it was open to Apple to add matter in the middle of the notice we ordered to be published. A notice with such matter is simply not the notice ordered.
  3. Even if that were not so, it cannot be legitimate to break up the ordered notice with false material. And the matter added was indeed false. Before introducing the quotes from HHJ Birss it begins:
  4. In the ruling, the judge made several important points comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products.
    But the Judge was not comparing "the Apple and Samsung products." There is not and has never been any Apple product in accordance with the registered design. Apple's statement would clearly be taken by ordinary readers and journalists to be a reference to a real Apple product, the iPad. By this statement Apple was fostering the false notion that the case was about the iPad. And that the Samsung product was "not as cool" as the iPad.

  5. I turn to the last paragraph. I do not think the order as made precluded any addition to the required notice if that addition had been true and did not undermine the effect of the required notice. But I do consider that adding false and misleading material was illegitimate. For by adding such material the context of the required notice is altered so that it will be understood differently.

  6. Here what Apple added was false and misleading. I turn to analyse it. The first sentence reads:
  7. However, in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design.
    That is false in the following ways:
    (a) "Regarding the same patent." No patent of any kind has been involved in Germany or here, still less "the same patent."
    (b) As regards the Community Registered Design, the German Courts held that neither the Galaxy 10.1 nor the 8.9 infringed it. As to the 7.7 there was for a short while a German provisional order holding that it infringed. Whether there was a jurisdiction to make that order is very doubtful for the reasons given in my earlier judgment but in any event the order had been (or should have been) discharged by the time the Contested Notice was published.
    (c) There is a finding and injunction, limited to Germany alone, that the 10.1 and 8.9 infringe German unfair competition law. But the statement is likely to be read as of more general application.

  8. The second sentence reads:
  9. A U.S. jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design and utility patents, awarding over one billion U.S. dollars in damages to Apple Inc.
    That is misleading by omission. For the US jury specifically rejected Apple's claim that the US design patent corresponding to the Community Design in issue here was infringed. The average reader would think that the UK decision was at odds with that in the US. Far from that being so, it was in accordance with it.

  10. The third sentence reads:
  11. So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung wilfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad.
    This is calculated to produce huge confusion. The false innuendo is that the UK court came to a different conclusion about copying, which is not true for the UK court did not form any view about copying. There is a further false innuendo that the UK court's decision is at odds with decisions in other countries whereas that is simply not true.

  12. The reality is that wherever Apple has sued on this registered design or its counterpart, it has ultimately failed. It may or may not have other intellectual property rights which are infringed. Indeed the same may be true the other way round for in some countries Samsung are suing Apple. But none of that has got anything to do with the registered design asserted by Apple in Europe. Apple's additions to the ordered notice clearly muddied the water and the message obviously intended to be conveyed by it.

  13. Jurisdiction to make a Further Order

  14. Mr Beloff suggested that we had no jurisdiction to make a further order. But he accepted that the court has power to vary its orders to make their meaning and intention clear. The meaning and intention of the first order was plain: to require Apple to publicise properly that there was no infringement of the registered design. The proposed order now sought does no more than that.

  15. So it is unnecessary to explore further the power of the court to grant an injunction where an earlier court order has been breached or disobeyed. One would expect such a power to exist irrespective of formal proceedings for contempt. As my late father observed:
  16. Under its inherent jurisdiction, the court has undoubted power to compel observance of its process and obedience of and compliance with its orders. These powers are inherent in the sense that they are necessary attributes to render the judicial function effective in the administration of justice, The Inherent Jurisdiction Current Legal Problems, 1970 p.44
    The Form of the Further Order

  17. The form of this was settled at the hearing. So I need do no more than explain the reasons for the matters over which there was some dispute.

  18. Given our finding that the Contested Notice did not comply with our order and did not achieve what was intended there was no dispute but that we should order it be removed. There was dispute as to what should go up in its place. Apple contended that no more was needed on its home page. We thought otherwise. The Contested Notice had had over a million hits. It was necessary that the fact it was misleading be brought home. Only a notice on Apple's homepage could be sure to do that. We were of course conscious that a notice on the homepage was highly undesirable from Apple's point of view, but its own actions had made it necessary. We also thought that a rather longer period was needed than the one month period of the original order. We ordered that the notice and link should stay up until 15th December. The notice on the homepage had to make it clear that the Contested Notice was inaccurate and did not comply with the first order.

  19. We also thought it appropriate that the correct statement – the notice required by the original notice – should appear without modification or addition. Apple's previous modifications and additions made it clear that it should not be allowed to do the same or something similar again. Of course that did not preclude it from making statements elsewhere – even untrue ones which might amount to a libel or malicious falsehood. That would amount to a prior restraint which would obviously be inappropriate. All we required is that the notice we ordered should appear unvarnished or unembellished in any way.

  20. As to the costs (lawyers' fees) to be awarded against Apple, we concluded that they should be on an indemnity basis. Such a basis (which is higher than the normal, "standard" basis) can be awarded as a mark of the court's disapproval of a party's conduct, particularly in relation to its respect for an order of the court. Apple's conduct warranted such an order.

  21. Finally I should mention the time for compliance. Mr Beloff, on instructions (presumably given with the authority of Apple) told us that "for technical reasons" Apple needed fourteen days to comply. I found that very disturbing: that it was beyond the technical abilities of Apple to make the minor changes required to own website in less time beggared belief. In end we gave it 48 hours which in itself I consider generous. We said the time could be extended by an application supported by an affidavit from a senior executive explaining the reasons why more was needed. In the event no such application was made. I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple."
I admire his inherent optimism, in spite of the evidence in this particular case, in his concluding hope that  "the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple."

Apple have now put a link to the ordered notice on their website.  You do have to scroll down to the bottom of the homepage to find it:
"On 25 October 2012, Apple Inc. published a statement on its UK website in relation to Samsung's Galaxy tablet computers. That statement was inaccurate and did not comply with the order of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. The correct statement is at Samsung/Apple UK judgement."
 The notice itself now reads:
"Samsung / Apple UK judgment
On 9 July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computers, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s Community registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High Court is available from
That Judgment has effect throughout the European Union and was upheld by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales on 18 October 2012. A copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgment is available from There is no injunction in respect of the Community registered design in force anywhere in Europe."
It's supposed to remain there until 15 December. Pity they didn't stretch it through the Christmas period!

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