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Apple Makes the Most of Court-Ordered Samsung Apologies

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When a British patents court ordered Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) to apologize for suing Samsung over design patents, I didn't really expect Cupertino to comply with the order. The verdict could still be appealed to a higher court, and Apple isn't exactly known for its meekly apologetic nature.

Oh, but I forgot about Apple's ability to follow the letter of the law while doing unspeakable things to the spirit of legal procedures. With or without Steve Jobs at the helm, Apple owns some of the world's finest marketing minds.

The company didn't file an appeal, but the marketing geniuses sat down to turn this court-ordered apology into an unabashed marketing message for Apple's own products. The court specified a minimum font size for Apple's apology, but it never spelled out exactly what the company was supposed to say. Oh yes, you can bend those rules!

So now there's a tiny link to Apple's apology tucked away at the bottom of its British web presence, just as the honorable judge Colin Birss originally ordered:

I promise, it's really there. Navigate past the iPad Mini eyeball magnet and a smaller push for the iPhone 5, and you'll find the "Samsung/Apple UK judgement" at the bottom of the page, next to the explanation of Apple's online cookie policy.

Follow that link, and you'll find a detailed explanation of the court's findings. Not so much on the fact that Samsung didn't infringe on Apple's design patents, which seemed to be the core of the judge's order, but plenty of background on how strikingly different Apple's tablets really are. Yes, this includes quoting judge Birss' downright viral proclamation that Samsung's tablets are "not as cool" as Apple's.

Apple then goes on to explain that other courts in Germany and the U.S. disagree on the infringement decision, even if the Korean company's stuff isn't cool enough to shine Apple's shoes.

This way, Cupertino gets to comply with the court order in a technical sense without actually giving an inch of ground to Samsung. Well played, Apple.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Check out Anders' bio and holdings, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 12:41 PM, hemhog wrote:

    Apple's apology is, of course, anything but an apology. It reports the court's observation that Samsung's devices are "not as cool" as Apple's. And it reports that courts in other jurisdictions have ruled that Samsung did violate Apple's intellectual property rights.

    So Apple winds here, despite being required to "apologize."

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