Apple (s aapl) and the British judiciary have been engaged in an ongoing tit-for-tat over a requirement that Apple tell Brits that its bitter rival Samsung didn’t copy the iPad. Today, the judges got the last word with a stinging rebuke to Apple.
In case you missed it, the fuss began in July when a UK judge declared that Samsung’s Galaxy tablet did not infringe on design rights for the iPad because it was “not as cool.” The judge then ordered Apple to place a notice on its website and in newspapers to clear up public perceptions.
Apple complied, sort of. Rather than posting the notice as it was told, Apple added extra wording to say that America and Germany had found Samsung infringed its patents — suggesting, in other words, that the UK court was an ass. Apple also added code to its website ensure the apology notice was hard to see.
Today, angry judges from the Court of Appeal for England and Wales issued a formal decision calling Apple’s behavior “disturbing” and “lackadaisical,” and concluding with the “hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.” They also expressed incredulity at Apple’s claim that it would need two weeks to fix the website notice.
The judges appeared especially miffed by the press coverage of Apple’s earlier defiance. The decision cites a headline by British IT blog The Register that read “APPLE: SCREW YOU, BRITS, everyone else says Samsung copied us.” The judges said the press coverage was full of mistakes but said Apple could be held responsible for this since it contributed to this through “inaccurate statements and false innuendo.”
The matter now appears over once and overall. There is now a message on Apple’s UK website saying that Apple’s earlier statement was inaccurate, and providing a link to the court judgments: