Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab

Apple ordered to rewrite Samsung statement on website

Senior UK judges expressed amazement after tech giant Apple suggested it would need two weeks to post a notice on its website.

One judge suggested that Apple chief executive Tim Cook ought to make a statement setting out the "technical difficulty" facing the American firm.

Judges were sitting in the Court of Appeal in London hearing details of a dispute between Apple and rival Samsung. Apple had been instructed by judges to publish a statement acknowledging that it had lost an earlier legal fight with Samsung.

The two firms returned to court after Samsung complained that the notice Apple posted did not comply with the court order and should be altered. Apple said the notice did comply. But judges agreed with Samsung and said Apple should post another statement.

A lawyer representing Apple said the firm could take a notice off its website in 24 hours but asked judges for 14 days to post a replacement.

Lord Justice Longmore told Michael Beloff QC: "We are just amazed that you cannot put the right notice up at the same time as you take the other one down."

Sir Robin Jacob added: "I would like to see the head of Apple make an affidavit about why that is such a technical difficulty for the Apple company."

He told Mr Beloff: "I don't believe the instructions you have been given. This is Apple that cannot put something on their own website?"

Judges said Apple should post the notice within 48 hours.

They were hearing the latest stage of a legal dispute centred on computer technology produced by Apple and Samsung. Apple had complained that the Samsung Galaxy Tab was too similar to its iPad. But a judge at the High Court in London ruled in July that the Samsung Galaxy Tab was not "cool" enough to be confused with Apple's iPad.

In October, Apple failed to overturn that ruling in the Court of Appeal. Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Kitchin and Sir Robin Jacob upheld a decision by Judge Colin Birss QC, who had concluded that three Samsung Galaxy tablet computers did not infringe Apple's registered design.

Judge Birss had said: "They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool."

He had decided that consumers were not likely to get the two tablet computers mixed up.

A lawyer representing Samsung today told Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Kitchin and Sir Robin Jacob that Apple had published a notice on its website on 26 October in "purported compliance" with a Court of Appeal order.

But Henry Carr QC said Apple had added an account of court proceedings in Germany and the USA which was "inaccurate and misleading".

"This has received enormous publicity and has perpetuated confusion as to Samsung's entitlement to market the Galaxy tablet computers in issue," he said, in a written statement given to judges. "It has created the impression that the UK court is out of step with other courts."

He said Apple should be told to stop publishing the notice it had posted and made to comply with the court's order. Mr Beloff told judges that Apple thought that it had complied with the court order.

"It's not designed to punish," said Mr Beloff. "It's not designed to make us grovel. The only purpose must be to dispel commercial uncertainty."

Judges decided in favour of Samsung and told Apple to make changes, saying they would give detailed reasons for their ruling later.

Apple today posted a notice in the Financial Times explaining decisions by the High Court and Court of Appeal about the dispute over Samsung's Galaxy computers.

The notice was shorter than the website statement and Samsung made no complaint about it.

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