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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) must run ads in the U.K. saying that Samsung did not copy its design for the iPad, a British judge has ruled. Judge Colin Birss, who last week ruled that Samsung did not infringe Apple’s designs because its Galaxy Tab tablets were not “as cool” as the iPad, said that Apple should publish a notice on its website and in British newspapers to correct any impression that Samsung copied its designs.
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The notice should outline the July 9 London court decision, Birss said yesterday. It should be posted on Apple’s U.K. home page for six months and published in several newspapers and magazines, including the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, Guardian Mobile magazine, and T3. However, the judge did reject Samsung’s request that Apple be forbidden from continuing to claim that its design rights had been infringed, saying that Apple was entitled to hold that opinion.
Technology companies have taken to litigation in recent years in an effort to stifle competition by having their products taken off shelves for patent infringement. This particular case is just one of many Apple is fighting in countries all around the world. In the U.S., Apple has been granted pre-trial injunctions against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and its Galaxy Nexus phone, though temporarily, as it moves forward with claims that Samsung infringed some of its patents.
While the U.K. judge’s decision will have no bearing on Apple’s case in the U.S., it will serve as a warning against companies seeking to use litigation to fight competition. Apple will essentially be forced to advertise for Samsung, a punishment that will be felt more deeply than a simple fine, and might discourage more frivolous patent suits in the U.K.
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