By Khurram Aziz | Nov 10, 2012 09:58 AM EST
Apple has quietly removed the Java code on its UK web site which it was using to hide a Samsung apology it was made to issue after losing a patent case in the country.
The code, first discovered by users on Reddit, forced people to scroll to the bottom of the page before they could find a link to a statement in which Apple admits that Samsung's products don't infringe patents on its iPad anywhere in Europe.
Apple sued Samsung in the UK last year, accusing the South Korean firm's Galaxy 10.1 Tab of infringing its registered designs and patents.
In July, the High Court dismissed the case because Samsung's device was not deemed "cool" enough to infringe the iPad.
The verdict was upheld on appeal with the appeals court taking the unusual step of ordering Apple to issue an apology to Samsung on its website and leave it there for a month.
The court said it was important to dispel any confusion among consumers who bought Samsung's devices thinking they owned an infringing product. Only a statement "from the horse's mouth" would do, said Judge Robin Jacob in his October 25 Court of Appeal decision.
However, the statement that Apple eventually put up on its UK website was not what the court had expected.
It emphasized excerpts of the original July ruling about how much cooler the iPad was than any of Samsung's products, as well as giving details of contradictory German and US rulings in favour of Apple, which Samsung said were not true.
Last week Jacob told Apple to immediately remove the statement and replace it with a compliant one, as its original message was deemed a "plain breach of the order".
Apple and Samsung are bitter rivals in the field of mobile technology. They have cases in courts around the world, each accusing the other of infringing their patents.
Apple won a $1.05bn claim for damages in a court in the US last August, but failed in similar cases in Japan and South Korea.
Apple put up a more compliant apology on its site soon after the court's disapproval, but according to Reddit users, it included code which cleverly resized the central image of the new iPad Mini and added four separate product advertisements at the bottom of the browser window. The result was that, no matter how tall their browser window is or how dense their screen resolution, visitors to the site could not see the apology to Samsung without scrolling to the very bottom.
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has released the full transcript of its ruling against Apple's first non-compliant apology.
In a tersely-worded document, Jacob, said that he hopes "the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple".
The court also ruled that Apple must pay Samsung's legal costs on an "indemnity basis".
"Such a basis (which is higher than the normal, 'standard' basis) can be awarded as a mark of the court's disapproval of a party's conduct, particularly in relation to its respect for an order of the court. Apple's conduct warranted such an order," said Jacob.
An award given on an indemnity basis means that it does not need to be "reasonable" and "proportionate" in amount, and any doubts of the cost would be resolved in favor of the receiving party.
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