U.K. judge, irritated with Apple's halfhearted compliance with the court's decision, orders it to pay Samsung's legal fees.
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Apple's unapologetic apology to Samsung is going to cost it. The U.K. court overseeing the two companies' legal tussling is not pleased with Apple's bad behavior and is sticking it with Samsung's legal fees as a result.
The U.K. court found Samsung innocent of infringing on Apple's iPad design earlier this year. Apple was asked to make a public apology on its U.K. website stating that Samsung did not, in fact, copy the iPad. It apologized, sort of. The first few paragraphs of the apology explained well enough how things turned out in the U.K. case. But then Apple followed up with this:
"In a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design. 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. 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 willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad."
That ticked off the U.K. judge a wee bit. "I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this," said Judge Robin Jacob. "That is a plain breach of the order."
The court itself added, "What Apple added was false and misleading. There is a false innuendo that the U.K. court's decision is at odds with decisions in other countries whereas that is simply not true."
Jacob ordered Apple to resubmit the apology within 24 hours. Apple did, but stuck the apology "below the fold" on its website, making it difficult to find. That didn't make the judge too happy, either.
Now Apple has to pay. Said the court:
"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. ... I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple."
Apple has had mixed results in overseas courts in its crusade against competitor Samsung. In the United States, it won a massive $1.05 billion judgment from a jury in August when Samsung was found guilty of infringing on a number of Apple patents regarding smartphones. Apple has asked that Samsung be prevented from selling the infringing devices in the United States, in addition to the fine. The judge overseeing that case, which is taking place in San Jose, Calif., is reviewing materials December 6, when a more final outcome is likely to be made clear.