The UK court of appeal has reprimanded Apple over the wording of the statement on its website acknowledging that Samsung did not infringe the iPad tablet's registered design, and ordered it to put an altered statement on its homepage – rather than tucked away in a linked page – until 14 December.
The acknowledgement put up last week, linked from the home page by a tiny link, was deemed to be "non-compliant" with the order that the court had made in October. The court has now ordered it to correct the statement – and the judges, Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Kitchin and Sir Robin Jacob, indicated that they were not pleased with Apple's failure to put a simpler statement on the site.
At a hearing in the court in London on Thursday morning, the judge told Apple that it had to change the wording of the statement within 48 hours, carry it on its home page, and use at least 11-point font.
Apple tried to argue that it would take at least 14 days to put a corrective statement on the site – a claim that one judge said he "cannot believe".
Darren Smyth of EIP Partners said: "The objection was that Apple had added to the statement that the court of appeal had ordered, so did not comply with the original order, and furthermore that the additions were not accurate.
"Apple must now within 48 hours publish a correction on their homepage with a link to the corrected statement in not less than 11-point font."
The tech giant was originally ordered by the court of appeal to correct the statement carried on its website relating to its tablet battle with Samsung, in which it was ordered to acknowledge that its rival did not copy the iPad's design.
Though Apple did do that, it also added in details from other court cases in the US relating to other non-design patents to suggest that other courts had found against Samsung.
The acknowledgement – which was depicted as an apology, though neither the court of appeal nor the original high court judgment described it as such – was intended to be a factual statement ordered by His Honour Judge Birss QC in the high court. Apple has also been told it must take out adverts with the same statements in the Financial Times, The Guardian, Daily Mail, T3 magazine and Mobile magazine. Those adverts are not thought to have appeared.
The ruling is the latest in a long-running battle between the South Korean and Californian electronics giants, in which Apple and Samsung have since 2010 been at loggerheads over patents and designs used in their respective smartphones and tablets, with lawsuits around the world.
In the UK one, Apple had claimed that Samsung infringed its European "registered design" for the iPad tablet with the Galaxy Tab; Samsung disagreed, and won a ruling from Birss in July.
He then ordered Apple to issue a corrective statement about Samsung's designs. Apple appealed, but lost that case in October. The same three judges sat on Thursday as in the October case.
While Apple's statement on its site did contain the elements it was instructed to contain according to the court of appeal and high court rulings, Apple added four paragraphs – including extracts from Birss's ruling in July where he called Apple's designs "cool", and contrasted them against Samsung's, which he said lacked the same qualities.
Bloomberg quoted Jacob as saying Apple's statement was "a plain breach of the order".
Bloomberg said that Michael Beloff, a lawyer representing Apple, defending the notice, told the court that the judges themselves had said that it "is not designed to punish, it is not designed to make us grovel" and that its only purpose was "to dispel commercial uncertainty".
Apple declined to comment on the new ruling.