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Small-Time Tablet Manufacturer Defeats Apple in Spanish Legal Battle

November 04, 2011

Small-Time Tablet Manufacturer Defeats Apple in Spanish Legal Battle

By Ed Silverstein
TMCnet Contributor

It was much like David winning against Goliath, but it was in the sometimes nasty tablet wars.

This week, Apple (News - Alert) lost a court ruling in Spain that relates to NT-K, which could be far-reaching, with possible impact on other intellectual property cases.

It started out when Apple claimed that NT-K’s (Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá) Android (News - Alert) tablet, the NT-K Pad, “copied the iPad tablet.” Apple demanded that NT-K “destroy its stock” of the tablet. NT-K said no and Apple got an injunction in court.

As the fight continued, NT-K was banned from importing its tablet computer into Spain; shipments were seized; and it was considered as a “pirate” by European officials.

But this week a Spanish court said the tablets “do not infringe the Community design rights that Apple claimed.”

In addition, last December, Apple had filed criminal charges against NT-K, which were thrown out this week.

On top of that, NT-K will file a complaint against Apple, “claiming loss of earnings, and loss of potential future business,” according to a report from Paid Content.

“Criminal charges … have absolutely no business in an intellectual property case,” comments Gizmodo about the ruling. “Now that NT-K's cleared its name, it's going on the offensive, filing an Antitrust case against Apple for anticompetitive behavior, and suing the company for damages, lost profits, and ‘moral damages.’"

“It's welcome news that the little guy can still peel off a win or two against the big time patent gestapos,” Gizmodo adds.

"We think that, given this was during the launch of the iPad, (Apple) was trying to keep as many tablets from entering the market as possible," Pedro David Pelaez, a founding partner of NT-K, told Reuters.

Also, the Spanish ruling could impact Apple’s legal struggles with Samsung (News - Alert) and other companies.

Last month, Apple won a legal victory when an Australian judge ruled that Samsung’s Galaxy devices couldn’t be sold in the country if “it used features such as touch-screen technology that U.S.-based Apple claims infringe patents used in its iPad tablet,” reported TMCnet’s Erin Harrison.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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