A small Spanish computer maker is taking on the legal might of Apple, overturning an injunction on sales of its Android tablet and gunning for damages from the US firm.
Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá (nt-k) says it has won court approval to restart sales of its tablet PC, after the devices were seized by customs officials in 2010 following an Apple complaint. The Spanish firm says it is pursuing legal means to recoup cash lost because of the seizure, and has also filed a complaint against Apple with the domestic competition regulator.
The verdict could also have implications for Apple's attempt to ban Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe, as Apple's case hinged on the same design right it is using in these battles.
Patent expert Florian Mueller, on his FOSS Patents blog, noted that Apple's strategy had been exceptional in that it was pursuing criminal charges against nt-k.
“Considering that this was not a case of product piracy but just a dispute over whether or not Apple has exclusive design rights covering nt-k's Android-based products, I think it's absolutely outrageous that Apple tried to attack its rival under criminal law,” he said.
Mueller also stated that Apple's copycat charges were based on the same so-called Community Design right – which differs from a technical patent – which Apple has asserted in its cases Samsung in Germany and the Netherlands.
Apple won an injunction on Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales in Germany based on the Community Design, but was not successful in asserting the right in the Netherlands.