U.S. courts haven’t been overly kind to Samsung Electronics Co. in its patent battle with Apple Inc., but the Korean tech company is having better luck across the pond, where a three-judge panel in London’s High Court upheld an earlier judge’s ruling that its tablet computers do not infringe the design of the iPad.
Samsung might not be so pleased with the rationale behind the original ruling, namely that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets aren’t “cool” enough to be confused with the iPad. But it will likely welcome the judges’ order that Apple link to the original ruling on its U.K. website and place advertisements in several U.K. publications to “correct the damaging impression” that Samsung infringed on its product.
"[This case] is not about whether Samsung copied Apple's iPad,” Judge Robin Jacobs, a member of the appeals panel, wrote in his ruling. “Infringement of a registered design does not involve any question of whether there was copying: The issue is simply whether the accused design is too close to the registered design according to the tests laid down in the law." The appeals court found that there were several key differences between the two companies’ tablets, including the inclusion of a logo on the Galaxy tablet and variations in the devices’ sides.
Unless Apple successfully appeals the High Court’s ruling, the verdict will apply throughout the European Union. In the past, courts across the continent have issued differing rulings on the case, with a German court granting a Europe-wide injunction against Samsung tablets earlier this summer. Jacob noted these discrepancies in his ruling, saying that “if courts around Europe simply say they do not agree with each other and give inconsistent decisions, Europe will be the poorer.”
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