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Apple shows a lack of integrity

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Back on 29 October, I commented that Apple obeys the letter but not the spirit of the law in fulfilling its court order to say that Samsung had not breached its design patent. I was wrong. In a new ruling announced on Friday, Judges Longmore, Kitchin and Jacob announced a damning verdict on Apple’s behaviour. Samsung had complained to the court that Apple’s compliance with the court order was lacking – and the court agreed. Apple had not even obeyed the letter, never mind the spirit, of the ruling.

Firstly, the court decided that Apple had not complied with the instruction to place adverts in newspapers and magazines (specifically, the “Financial Times, the Daily Mail, The Guardian, Mobile Magazine and T3 Magazine” “within seven days of the date of this Order.”

The new ruling notes that “there was self-evident non-compliance with the newspaper/magazine aspect of the publicity order.”

But the court is more concerned with the page Apple published on its website (now long since altered to fit the original ruling). In his new ruling, Sir Robin Jacob takes the trouble to work through Apple’s ‘apology’ line by line. It’s worth reading the judgement in full, which you can do here. Firstly he objects to Apple adding new material within the statement ordered by the court. “I do not consider it was open to Apple to add matter in the middle of the notice we ordered to be published,” he ruled on Friday. “A notice with such matter is simply not the notice ordered.”

His most damning comments are, however, reserved for the final paragraph added by Apple. “Here what Apple added was false and misleading.” Of the first sentence he rules, “That is false…” Of the second sentence he rules, “That is misleading by omission.” Of the third sentence he concludes, “This is calculated to produce huge confusion.”

The court, to put it mildly is not amused. The announcement of the court ruling had to be just the ruling without embellishment. This Apple has now done: Samsung / Apple UK judgment. But in what can only be viewed as punishment for turning an adverse court ruling into a pro-Apple advert, the court also demanded that a new statement be added to Apple’s home page:

Given our finding that the Contested Notice did not comply with our order and did not achieve what was intended there was no dispute but that we should order it be removed. There was dispute as to what should go up in its place. Apple contended that no more was needed on its home page. We thought otherwise. The Contested Notice had had over a million hits. It was necessary that the fact it was misleading be brought home. Only a notice on Apple’s homepage could be sure to do that. We were of course conscious that a notice on the homepage was highly undesirable from Apple’s point of view, but its own actions had made it necessary. We also thought that a rather longer period was needed than the one month period of the original order. We ordered that the notice and link should stay up until 15th December. The notice on the homepage had to make it clear that the Contested Notice was inaccurate and did not comply with the first order.

Apple has now complied:

click for full size

Apple’s new additional statement on its home page

Adding salt to the wound, the court also awarded costs (for this particular round of the struggle) to Samsung on an indemnity basis. “Such a basis,” wrote Sir Robin Jacob, “(which is higher than the normal, ‘standard’ basis) can be awarded as a mark of the court’s disapproval of a party’s conduct, particularly in relation to its respect for an order of the court. Apple’s conduct warranted such an order.”

And finally, the last sentence of Sir Robin’s judgement, says, “I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.” The damning nature of this judgement suggests that I may have got a second posting wrong: Yes, Microsoft is still more evil than Apple. I may need to revise my opinion now.

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