NT-K to Apple: Hello. My Name is Nuevas Tecnologias. You Killed My Tablet. Prepare to Die.
The Spanish Android tablet maker Nuevas Tecnologias y Energias Catala (otherwise known as NT-K) has persuaded a court to overturn the ban prohibiting importation of its tablet computer into Spain. And now NT-K is turning the tables on Apple — which played a role in the ban’s decree.
Accused of copying the design of the original iPad last November, NT-K was dragged into court and slapped with a customs ban that kept its Android-based tablet off the market and caused it to miss the crucial holiday shopping season. Now vindicated, the company is striking back against Apple. Not only is it pursuing the iPad maker for loss of earnings and loss of potential future business, it is pushing forward with a complaint it filed with Spain’s National Competition Commission, accusing Apple of abusing its dominant position “with a clear intention to close the market and prevent entry to potential competitors.”
“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,” NT-K’s Pedro David Pelaez told Reuters. “We’re nothing; let’s be realistic. I don’t think they were looking just for us, but the sum of all of us together was something.”
It’s not clear if a formal antitrust inquiry will follow, but the threat is certainly there. And there may be bad news beyond this, as well. As Florian Mueller notes over at FOSS Patents, Apple went after NT-K for some of the same “Community Design” rights it claimed Samsung had violated in another ongoing IP case. So its loss in the NT-K case may set something of a bad precedent.