A case of Apple and Pears

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Intellectual property risks might not be on the top of your agenda but the following case details may provide some interesting reading.

HIS HONOUR JUDGE BIRSS QC presided over the case of Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd and Apple Inc relating to community registered design infringement by Samsung for their Galaxy product in the UK.

The judge in this case deemed that Samsung had not infringed the registered design and required Apple to make public this fact on their website and in National and Industry Press. You might say he agreed they were not comparing Apples with Apples.

A case of Apple and Pears (or Apple and Samsung).

Following the initial judgement Apple made the following statement:

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property.”

This might sound as if this is comment  a flagrant disregard for the judge’s decision. Samsung certainly thought so and were back in court a week later seeking an injunction raising this statement  as one point of their claim.

The judge declared “In my judgment, Apple are carefully trying to say something which contains an innuendo that Samsung infringe without actually saying it. The reference to copying is exactly that. It is clear that copying plays no part in this case for Registered Community Design infringement, but to many people outside the circles of intellectual property law to say something infringes a Registered Community Design and to say someone copied your design or your product is to say the same thing” .

The judge also observed that this case  is  UK based and in the rest of the World and Europe it may not the same.

“In relation to this Registered Community Design, the proceedings in Germany and the Netherlands at a preliminary stage have gone in Samsung’s favour. They have judgments of the Dutch and German courts saying that the Samsung products do not infringe the Registered Community Design. However, in Germany, Apple have the benefit of an injunction against Samsung under German unfair competition law. I understand that in the United States there is a preliminary injunction under the American design against Samsung.”

The point of the article is not about the outcome which you can read about here (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/2049.html) but to emphasise the importance of seeking professional advice in the area of Intellectual Property. I am sure the battle will continue in many courts in different jurisdictions.

If your intellectual property critical to your business success and profitability then you should  ensure that you have taken measures to protect it. Procurisk® has a dataset devoted to Intellectual Property Risks. Want to find out more,  please call me Ray Gambell on 01744 20698 or email r.gambell@brianfarrington.com.

The case continues