I’ve always enjoyed hearing about judges who use unusual remedies to make a point. One well-publicized case involved sentencing some kids who vandalized veterans’ graves to watch the movie Saving Private Ryan.
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is facing one such sentence in the UK: a judge is requiring that Apple publish a notice on its Website stating Samsung Corp. did not infringe on Apple’s iPad patent, Bloomberg reports:
As well as Apple’s website, the company must pay for notices in the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, Guardian Mobile magazine, and T3, according to a draft copy of the order provided by Samsung’s lawyers.
One of the reasons cited for this measure is Apple’s widespread use of patent law as a means to block sales of Samsung’s Galaxy tablet around the globe. But it’s a backhanded victory for Samsung: the justice said the Galaxy couldn’t be confused with the iPad because it is not as “cool.”
In another twist, the judge denied Samsung’s request that Apple be blocked from making public statements about the Galaxy. Apple is entitled to its opinion, he said.
This is Apple’s second comeuppance in as many weeks: Last week, Apple withdrew from the EPEAT environmental ratings organization, only to return several days later. (See: Apple's EPEAT Fiasco.) Apple was roundly criticized by customers and environmentalists alike, and Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, signed a letter of explanation that for Apple rated as an apology.
The whole Apple-Samsung legal saga lapsed into silliness several lawsuits ago. Experts’ examination of the Galaxy’s and iPad’s designs show significant differences, yet infringement accusations require a defense and, apparently, several countersuits. Although the UK judge probably didn’t intend to set a precedent, it's possible the “uncool defense” will soon start cropping up in the legal lexicon.
In the meantime, did the "I will not..." punishment work for you in grade school? Or would you do the same thing again?