Apple published 'false and misleading' material, says judge

A senior British judge criticised Apple today in the latest round of a legal row between the technology giant and rival Samsung.

Justice Robin Jacob said Apple published “false and misleading” material and he suggested that bosses showed a “lack of integrity” by saying staff would need two weeks to make “minor changes” to the company website.

He made his criticisms after the British Court of Appeal heard details of the dispute between Apple and Samsung at a hearing in London.

Appeal judges made a ruling earlier this month – when they expressed “amazement” about the amount of time Apple wanted to post information on its website.

They gave written reasons for their decision today.

Apple was instructed by judges to publish a statement acknowledging that it had lost an earlier legal fight with Samsung.

The two firms returned to court on November 1 after Samsung complained that the notice Apple posted on its website did not comply with a court order and should be altered.

Apple said the notice did comply.

But three judges – Justice Longmore, Justice Kitchin and Justice Jacob - agreed with Samsung and said Apple should post another statement.

He appeal court was analysing the latest stage of a dispute centred on computer technology produced by Apple and Samsung.

Apple 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.

Last month, Apple failed to overturn that ruling in the Court of Appeal.

The judges upheld a decision by Judge Colin Birss QC, who concluded that three Samsung Galaxy tablet computers did not infringe Apple’s registered design.

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

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

In the latest litigation, Samsung said Apple had published a notice on its website acknowledging defeat on October 26 - in “purported compliance” with a Court of Appeal order.

But the firm complained that Apple had added an account of court proceedings in Germany and the United States which was “inaccurate and misleading”.

Judges agreed. “What Apple added was false and misleading,” Jacob said in today’s written decision.

“There is a false innuendo that the UK court’s decision is at odds with decisions in other countries whereas that is simply not true.”

He said Apple had asked for two weeks to post a new notice.

“(We were told) that ’for technical reasons’ Apple needed 14 days,” said Jacob.

“I found that very disturbing: that it was beyond the technical abilities of Apple to make the minor changes required to its own website in less time beggared belief.

“In end we gave it 48 hours which in itself I consider generous.

“We said the time could be extended by an application supported by an affidavit from a senior executive explaining the reasons why more was needed. In the event no such application was made.”

The judge added: “I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.”

Justice Longmore and Justice Kitchin said they agreed.

At the November 1 hearing, Justice Longmore had told a lawyer representing Apple: “We are just amazed that you cannot put the right notice up at the same time as you take the other one down.”

And Jacob had added: “I don’t believe the instructions you have been given. This is that Apple cannot put something on their own website?”

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