Small Firm Beats Apple in Court, Files Extortion Charges

Small Spanish firm Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá, which won in court two months ago after Apple sued it for allegedly stealing the iPad’s design, has added extortion charges to the antitrust complaint it filed against the tech giant last August. According to patent blogger Florian Mueller, “under Spanish law, an act is considered extortion when someone uses violence or intimidation to enrich himself by forcing another party to commit an act or stop something to their economic detriment.”

Nuevas’ inventory of Android-based NT-K tablets was seized after Apple obtained a temporary injunction last year. Apple’s loss in court last November lifted that ruling, but Nuevas became aggressive in court after arguing that the injunction was a severe detriment to sales.

Nuevas’ NT-K tablet

However, Mr. Mueller wrote in his blog post: “For now I don’t see evidentiary support for the claim that Apple sought to ‘extort’ NT-K and possibly other small companies … What NT-K has described so far looks to me like a case of bullying and I don’t support it, but there was most probably a genuine legal dispute.”

Apple has been aggressive about defending its patents in recent months, particularly where they apply to the iPad. The company has sued HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and others with some success, but many cases are still working their way through the courts. Apple has also been on the receiving end of litigation with not just the Nuevas case but also Tuesday’s lawsuit by Kodak.