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October 18, 2012

Apple Dealt with Copyright Blow as European Appeal Lost

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

The ongoing copyright battle between Apple (News - Alert) and Samsung over the designs of their popular products may have nearly reached an end in Europe, as just hours ago, Britain's Court of Appeal upheld a High Court judgment that said Samsung's (News - Alert) products did not in fact infringe on Apple's. The motivation behind this ruling will come as a somewhat backhanded relief for Samsung, but relief nonetheless.

While the British legal system did, reportedly, note some similarities between Apple's tablets and smartphones and those designed by Samsung, there were simply not enough of them to call it infringement. In this case, Apple's master strategy of taking the "cool" market by storm worked against them, as the High Court and the Court of Appeal found that Samsung's products were "not as cool", and that served as at least partial proof Samsung wasn't infringing.

Image via Shutterstock

The British court's decision is valid throughout Europe, and poses a bit of a legal dilemma for Apple. While it reportedly has one appeal target left in the Supreme Court, there is nothing so far to indicate that Apple will take that shot. Having lost in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, it doesn't suggest a good likelihood of taking a win anywhere else.

Samsung, naturally, was more than pleased, issuing a statement which read in part, "We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners." Apple, meanwhile, refused to comment, but was instructed to run advertisements on its website and in select newspapers specifically saying that Samsung did not copy registered patent designs.

If nothing else, it brings to at least somewhat of a close another major chapter in the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Samsung, though it also goes to underscore just how deep this particular rivalry goes. For Apple to have lost its battle in Europe in part because it was "cooler" than its competition has to be grating for Apple, especially given how much of their marketing was geared to make their products out to be the top of the heap in terms of sheer "cool" in the market.

Constant legal wrangling and frequent back and forth over the course of several months has illustrated just how high the stakes were between these two rivals, and with each side gaining and losing ground alike, it's enough to make some wonder what was really accomplished.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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