Apple formally appeals ebooks antitrust ruling, asks for monitor to be suspended until a new decision is made

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Apple has formally appealed the Department of Justice’s ebooks antitrust case, via the Associated Press. Previously, Apple has only officially complained about the power of the appointed monitor — now they are asking for the entire case to be re-evaluated.

Apple claims it was ignorant of any inter-publisher price fixing and that Apple setup iBooks through legal arrangements without knowledge of any behind-the-scenes collusion.

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Apple loses appeal over tablets in UK courtroom, must publicly apologize to Samsung

Apple and Samsung’s legal fight continued on the world stage this morning, where the Britain Court of Appeal upheld a previous ruling that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab does not infringe on the iPad’s patents because it is not “as cool.” Reuters reported that after losing the appeal this morning, Apple has been instructed by the court to apologize to Samsung by running ads on its website and in newspapers saying Samsung did not infringe on patents in at least Arial 14 font.

As we all know, other courts around the world have ruled otherwise. On the ruling, Samsung gave the boilerplate: “We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners.” A California court ruled this summer that Samsung owes $1 billion to Apple. Additionally, some of Samsung’s devices could be in jeopardy from being on the market.

Today’s ruling in Europe prohibits any other legal course regarding tablets and the iPad specifically. While the Court of Appeal denied Apple’s appeal today, the company can still appeal with the Supreme Court. The global legal battle is far form over, as it continues in roughly a dozen countries, with more trials scheduled for 2014.  Read more

Consumer groups in 10 more EU countries seeking alterations to AppleCare

We reported several times about Italian anti-trust authorities fining Apple $1.2 million for “misleading consumers” in relation to AppleCare warranties. The decision made by the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato stated Apple’s 1-year AppleCare warranties were failing to inform consumers of a mandatory warranty of two years imposed by European Union law. Today we heard confirmation from Bloomberg that not just Italy, but consumer groups from 11 countries, requested that Apple make changes to its AppleCare policies and immediately halt its current “practices on the guarantees.”

Apple products say they come with a one-year warranty when European Union law requires manufacturers cover goods for two years, consumer groups in 11 countries, including Italy and Germany, said in an e-mailed statement today. The groups said they sent letters to national regulators seeking an immediate halt to Apple’s practices on the guarantees

The letter sent by consumer groups comes two days before Apple is set to appeal the $1.2 million fine imposed by Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato on March 21. Apple already published the initial anti-trust decision on its website, but the group is asking Apple to also alter its warranty policies and publish a notice to consumers about the changes it made on Apple.com.
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Apple to appeal $1.2M fine imposed by Italian regulators over AppleCare warranties

Apple plans to appeal a decision by Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato to impose $1.2 million USD fine for not providing consumers with a two-year warranty mandatory under European Union law and the Italian Consumer Code. An Apple PR representative apparently confirmed the decision to appeal the fines to The Register.

We reported earlier this week that Italian antitrust authorities were fining Apple Inc., Apple Sales International, and Apple Retail Italy $1.2 million USD related to “bad commercial practices that harmed consumers.” The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato claimed Apple has not implemented a two-year product guarantee available to all consumers through EU law. Instead, Apple continues to push their own AppleCare warranties to consumers without indication of the consumer’s rights to the free two-year guarantee.

The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato asked Apple “cease practice” of their current warranty policies, and “notify the Authority” of a new course of action. They also want Apple to publish clarification of the new policy on Apple.com to notify consumers. It is unclear if other authorities throughout the EU will take similar action.

Apple is also accused by the European Antitrust Commission of engaging in “illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition in the EU or in the EEA” related to their iBooks business.

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Samsung claims Apple doctored Galaxy phone images in Netherlands court

According to a report from Dutch publication Webwereld (via Computerworld)Apple has once again submitted doctored evidence related to their claims of design patent-related infringement by Samsung, this time to a court in Netherlands. This further supports claims by Bas Berghuis of Simmons and Simmons (Samsung’s lawyer) that Apple has been “manipulating visual evidence, making Samsung’s devices appear more similar to Apple’s.”

“It surprises me that for the second time incorrect presentations of a Samsung product emerge in photographic evidence filed in litigation,” said Mark Krul, lawyer and IP law specialist at Dutch firm WiseMen. “This is not appropriate and undermines Apple’s credibility both inside and outside the court room.”

If you aren’t up to speed with the legal disputes between Apple and Samsung in Europe… a court in Germany already granted a preliminary injunction halting sales of Samsung’s Galaxy tab 10.1 tablet in the EU (which has been since lifted pending an appeal). We already heard about Apple manipulating images in that case related to the iPad and Galaxy tab. This time, however, the report claims Apple doctored images of the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone in comparison to the iPhone 3G.

Apparently the changes made the Galaxy S appear smaller than it actually is to closer resemble the dimensions of the 3G, which is odd given the fact Computerworld reports Apple has confirmed the Galaxy S does include “some non-identical elements, such as the slightly larger dimensions.” This supports the idea that Apple isn’t trying to secretly submit this evidence to the courts. Many have noted a German court’s decision to grant Apple with the original preliminary injunction on the Galaxy tab didn’t take the doctored images into account. In fact, patent expert Florian Mueller noted “the court’s decision was based on both Apple’s motion and Samsung’s pre-emptive opposition pleading” and also stated “Samsung is in a legally weak position against Apple. If Samsung wants to inspire confidence, it has to understand that half the truth is sometimes tantamount to a whole lie.”
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Updated: Samsung Responds… Apple stops Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 distribution in European Union

Update: Samsung has issued the following statement (via TNW) addressing the court’s decision to grant Apple the preliminary injunction:

Samsung is disappointed with the court’s decision and we intend to act immediately to defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings in Germany and will continue to actively defend these rights throughout the world.

The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung.

We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung’s innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world.

This decision by the court in Germany in no way influences other legal proceedings filed with the courts in Europe and elsewhere.

Reports are coming in that Apple has been granted a preliminary injunction for the entire European Union (excluding Netherlands) that will halt distribution of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. This comes on the heels of a postponed launch of the device in Australia due to a lawsuit with Apple.

The decision by the Regional Court of Dusseldorf in Germany to block sales of the device comes after a judge sided with Apple on claims that Galaxy Tab copied key design components related to the iPad 2. While Samsung can appeal the court’s decision sometime in the next month, the Telegraph’s Shane Richmond is quick to point out it would be heard by the same judge. Apple is also said to have a separate lawsuit filed in the Netherlands as well.

Samsung had this to say in a recent statement about their legal disputes with Apple:

“Samsung believes that there is no legal basis for this assertion. We will continue to serve our customers and distributors and the sale of Samsung products will be continued.”

And Apple has made their stance on the situation clear…

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

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