Apple’s tribalism backfires
Summary: Apple’s Hubris and reluctance to comply with court orders is costing it not just in bad publicity but also a more severe and stern order
Apple is a nasty company based on its behaviour in recent years. It’s not mere emotion that makes one call Apple “nasty”; this has become a widely-held perception, sometimes about Apple’s most passionate customers too. Watch Apple getting criticised for its aggressive nature again:
Apple is a litigious company, most famously for its multi-billion dollar patent crusade against Samsung. The Cupertino company has a more quixotic legal battle going on against its competitors, however, that has also become a bit of a war against the English language. Since last year, Apple lawyers have been arguing that “App Store” is a trademarked phrase, and it has the right to stop others from using similar phrases. That includes Amazon, which was sued by Apple in March 2011, shortly after it opened the Amazon Appstore for Android.
Now, some of those issues are finally coming to a head in public. At a hearing today in an Oakland federal court, it became clear that while Apple may have a lot of fury and passion behind this lawsuit, it has run into trouble in the form of a very skeptical judge. US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton showed great doubt that Apple will be able to prove that consumers were confused or deceived by Amazon’s use of the word “Appstore.” At this point, it’s somewhat remarkable that the company hasn’t dropped this suit, since Hamilton indicated a year ago that she was unimpressed by Apple’s arguments and denied a preliminary injunction.
Apple‘s arrogant marketing (including the “R and D” nonsense) is not impressing those who see innovators fleeing or getting fired. To quote this one report, “[w]hen Apple forced its mobile software leader Scott Forstall out of the company, it pushed out the most prolific inventor at the company, as measured by recent patent filings.
“Forstall’s name is on 166 pending patent applications. That’s more than anyone at the company, according to data from investment bank MDB Capital.”
Those patents have been used against companies like Samsung, usually in vain. Apple is getting told off by judges who accuse the company of breach of order. To quote: “Apple tried to argue that it would take 14 days to post an updated notice on its website, but the request was shot down. In fact, Judge Jacob made it clear that Apple’s actions are beginning to make him testy.”
Last week we noted that Apple had put up a rather petulant non-apology apology in response to the UK court order requiring it to advertise to the world that Samsung didn’t copy Apple in making its devices. Many people wondered how the court would react to Apple’s attempt… and the answer is that the court is not pleased (and is further displeased by Apple’s claim that it needs two weeks to come up with something better)…
Pamela Jones says that Apple must go further than before:
There are consequences now that are worse than before. Apple tried to argue that they followed the letter of the law in the original notice, as does Patently Apple. But there is something called the spirit of the law too, and if you follow one and thumb your nose at the other, things can go wrong, because people notice. Judges are not stupid. Not that I believe what Apple did obeyed the letter of the law either. Nor did the judge in the UK.
It’s never all right to show disrespect to a court of law, and lawyers above all others should take the lead in demonstrating that respect. The rule of law actually depends on it, which is another way of saying that civilization itself depends on it. Otherwise, it’s back to pistols at dawn, or worse.
Apple Has To Readmit That Samsung Did Not Copy iPad Design: Reprimanded By Court
Judge Jacob said, “I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order.”
Apple’s arrogance doesn’t end here. The company requested 14 days to make the changes. Wow. Why would a company need 14 days to make changes to it’s own site? Typical Apple.
Judge Jacob did not buy this and rejected the request stating, “I just can’t believe the instructions you’ve been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?”
Here is the Apple-friendly BBC:
Apple has 48 hours to re-write a statement on its website relating to its design rights dispute with Samsung, UK judges have ruled.
Lord Justice Longmore told Mr Beloff: “We are just amazed that you cannot put the right notice up at the same time as you take the other one down.”
Sir Robin Jacob added: “I would like to see the head of Apple [Tim Cook] make an affidavit about why that is such a technical difficulty for the Apple company.”
Now, that would be entertaining. Apple got itself deeper in the PR blunder. Its arrogance sure works against its intentions and brings no benefit. █