Apple ordered to rewrite apology
By Kim Yoo-chul
An appeals court in the United Kingdom has ordered Apple to rewrite its apology to Samsung Electronics on its website. It is the latest ruling in the legal feud between the companies after Apple accused the Korean firm of infringing on patents for its iPad.
British judges also warned Apple’s top-level executives, including CEO Tim Cook, that they risk being jailed if the California-based firm fails to comply with the latest court order.
According to legal sources directly involved with the Samsung-Apple tussle, the court ordered Apple to rewrite its court-mandated apology to Samsung that mocked its rival for producing tablets that were ''not as cool’’ as the iPad, angering Samsung.
Apple did post an apology stating that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets didn’t copy the design of Apple’s iPad but judges at London's High Court ruled Thursday that Apple should take down the earlier statement within 24 hours and ordered a new one to be posted within 48 hours.
''If Apple fails to accept the order by the court by the due date, then top management including CEO Tim Cook could be jailed at the worst case,’’ said an industry source familiar with the matter.
''Chances are low that its CEO could go to jail because its legal counsel agreed to correct the posting,’’ the source said
Apple can’t appeal the latest ruling by the U.K. court that also ordered it to pay all expenses for Thursday’s legal proceedings. Apple spokesman Steve Park in Seoul declined to comment.
The ruling comes just days after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) nullified Apple’s patent claim on a touch-screen ''bounce-back’’ feature. The feature was the critical issue in a previous California hearing, though the nine U.S. jurors agreed Samsung Electronics copied that feature.
Samsung is involved in a global patent war with Apple in 50 cases spread across 10 countries over four continents. The two companies are expected to meet again in court on Dec. 6 in California, where Apple was awarded $1.05 billion worth of damages from Samsung Electronics.
It’s uncertain whether the favorable decision by the U.K. court will serve to brighten Samsung’s chances of a similar victory in the upcoming decision by a U.S. Federal Judge Lucy Koh, presiding over the California case, according to experts and Samsung sources.
But chances are slim that the two companies will work out a compromise in the foreseeable future. Brian J. Love, professor of law at Santa Clara University said, ''The dispute may well continue for years to come. Apple appears to be far more interested in sending a message to Google and Android mobile manufacturers than it is in winning money via these lawsuits. Therefore, settlement may be unlikely.”
Samsung is also on course to sell more smartphones that support advanced long-term evolution (LTE) technology.
According to the latest statistics announced by leading market research firm Strategy Analytics (SA), Samsung captured 37.6 percent of the LTE-enabled phone segment in the United States, followed by Apple with 24.5 percent.
''Samsung wants the California verdict thrown out or the company wants to at least pay less damages. Samsung will be much more aggressive in its phone sales next year, as a bigger market share means more advantages in a possible cross-licensing deal,’’ said a Samsung source, asking not to be named.
Despite mixed decisions from the various courtrooms, Apple is still using Samsung’s flat-screens and chips for its popular i-branded devices, though the Cupertino-based outfit is gearing up efforts to diversify its parts procurement channels to Japanese and Taiwanese producers.
Apple used Samsung-made displays in its latest mini iPad, though there was speculation that Apple was not going to use any parts from the Korean firm in it.