Apple has lost a lawsuit in Spain where it was claiming Android tablet maker Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá was stealing product design ideas from the iPad. The smaller company is now looking to recover monetary damages from inventory that was seized, and Apple is facing a complaint for anticompetitive behavior, according to Foss Patents.
The tablet maker, working under the name nt-k, was accused by Apple of copying the iPad design in November 2010, and then was hit with a customs ban blocking the import of its Android devices into Spain. Apple followed up by filing criminal charges against nt-k in December.
“The Spanish company’s blog suggests that other small companies got a similar treatment from Apple but gave in,” Flourian Mueller said on his Foss Patents blog. “n-tk, however, didn’t want to be bullied and decided to defend itself vigorously.”
nt-k’s antitrust complaint alleges that Apple was abusing its position in the market to block competition from other tablet device makers. There isn’t any word yet on whether or not Spain’s competition regulation division is investigating nt-k’s complaint.
Apple hasn’t commented on the ruling, although it’s a safe bet companies like Samsung will take notice and may try to use the Spanish court’s decision to their benefit in their own patent infringement battles against the iPad maker.