Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

London court not amused by Apple's half-hearted apology

November 1, 2012: 12:08 PM ET

Cupertino given 24 hours to replace its snarky ad with a proper corrective

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FORTUNE -- "Love means never having to say you're sorry." -- Erich Segal's Love Story.

Someone at Apple (AAPL) seems to have taken Segal's sappy aphorism to heart, much to the consternation of London's highest court of appeals.

Having lost a U.K. design infringement suit in July, the company was ordered to post notices on its website and in the British press to correct any impression the suit might have created that Samsung's tablets were knockoffs of Apple's iPad.

The first paragraph of Apple's notice, still available here, did as it was ordered. But in five subsequent paragraphs the company's statement not only quoted Judge Colin Bliss' July ruling to the effect that Samsung's tablets "are not as cool," as Apple's, but added this:

"However, in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design. A U.S. jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design and utility patents, awarding over one billion U.S. dollars in damages to Apple Inc. So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad."

The U.K. Court of Appeals was not amused.

"I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this," Judge Robin Jacob said during a hearing in London Thursday, according to Bloomberg. "That is a plain breach of the order."

Apple was ordered to remove the offending paragraphs within 24 hours and add a three-sentence note on its homepage within 48 hours acknowledging the "incorrect statement."

A lawyer representing Apple complained in court that the original order was "not designed to makes us grovel." He also asked that Apple be given two weeks to make the changes.

His request was denied.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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