If you’d like a lesson in how to appear to apologize to someone without actually apologizing then take a leaf out of Apple’s book. The Tim Cook-led company has managed to blur the lines between apologizing and goading with its notice to Samsung in relation to the Galaxy Tab.
In the U.S. Apple claimed victory in its fight against Samsung over various design patents related to its products, but in other countries the verdict has been reversed, with Samsung handed the win. As was the case in the U.K., where a judge ruled in favor of Samsung, throwing out Apple’s claim that the Galaxy Tab was slavishly copied from the iPad.
Apple appealed this decision, but then lost that too, with the High Court in London ruling last week that the original decision should stand. What’s more, Apple was ordered to place a notice on its website and in various publications apologizing for making the claim against its competitor. It has now complied with that order, but the notice is about as begrudging an apology as it’s possible to make.
It starts out well, with Apple acknowledging that “the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001.” But that is then followed up with this doozy of a statement by the judge from the original judgment:
“The extreme simplicity of the Apple design is striking. Overall it has undecorated flat surfaces with a plate of glass on the front all the way out to a very thin rim and a blank back. There is a crisp edge around the rim and a combination of curves, both at the corners and the sides. The design looks like an object the informed user would want to pick up and hold. It is an understated, smooth and simple product. It is a cool design.”
“The informed user’s overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool.”
The final kick is applied with Apple’s very large boot when it closes with, “However, 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.”
Not so much an apology as a, “Yes, you may have won this particular round, but it was because your product sucks compared to ours.”