Apple loses the latest battle in its war against Samsung

The High Court had earlier ruled that Samsung does not impinge on the Apple tablet design. Apple appealed. Today the Court of Appeal has come down in favor of Samsung and upheld the High Court judgement of July. At that time the High Court said the products were similar, but that there were significant differences. Famously, Judge Colin Birss suggested that one difference is that Samsung’s design is simply “not as cool” as Apple’s. This has now been confirmed.

Technically, Apple can make a further appeal to the Supreme Court, but this is considered unlikely. “I expect this will be the end of the line. An appeal to the Supreme Court is in principle possible but there has been no indication so far that Apple plan such an appeal”, Darren Smyth partner at eIP, a specialist IP law firm, told Reuters. “For the design of tablets in Europe this should be the final word.”

It is important to note that this is about design and not patents explains Sir Robin Jacob, one of the judges involved in the Court of Appeal. “Because this case (and parallel cases in other countries) has generated much publicity, it will avoid confusion to say what this case is about and not about. It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple’s iPad. 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. So this case is all about, and only about, Apple’s registered design and the Samsung products.”

Apple has been instructed to run ads saying that Samsung did not copy its registered tablet designs, both on its website and in selected newspapers. And Samsung is, of course, delighted. A spokeswoman told the BBC, "We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners.”

This round is over – probably – but the war will continue.

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