Apple has been ordered by Judge Colin Birss, who oversaw the UK Apple/Samsung design infringement case, to publish notices stating that Samsung didn’t copy the iPad for its tablet designs. The notices must appear on Apple’s UK site as well as UK newspapers and magazines for a six-month period. This requirement is a meant to counter any loss of “face” from Apple’s claims that Samsung is a copycat and may also be intended to discourage future lawsuits of a similar nature.
(The ruling reminds me of those kids who’ve been made to wear signs in public as punishment for their misdeeds.)
The ruling means that Apple will have to provide six months of free advertising for their biggest rival, which certainly won’t sit well with them. There are no publicized reports on the specific requirements for these notices, so it remains to be seen what Apple can or can’t say in their notices. At the very least, they should be able to reference Judge Birss’ official remarks, which state that Samsung’s designs “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool.” They can say something to the effect of “Our stuff is cooler than Samsung’s…so says the law!”
Apple has one advantage that Samsung doesn’t: loyal and very vocal customer evangelists. They’re probably their best tool to turn the effect of this ruling around and change the court-ordered postings from an embarrassment into a PR coup. It’s already started — take a look at these recent tweets:
UK judge also ruled that Apple has to invite Samsung to its birthday party, and he doesn’t want to hear any whining.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-1…
— Wil Shipley (@wilshipley) July 18, 2012
Does it count if they use size four font, transparent color? bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-1…
— Lessien (@Lessien) July 18, 2012