Apple accused of extortion by Spanish tablet maker

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Spanish computer company NT-K has filed an indictment against Apple for the alleged act of extortion, a response to a 2010 patent dispute that culminated in the Cupertino, Calif., company filing criminal counterfeiting charges against the small Valencia tablet maker.



In a press release on Tuesday, Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá (NT-K) announced that it had filed charges against Apple with Valencia's district attorney for alleged acts of extortion following an aggressive patent litigation campaign, reports FOSS Patents.



The filing is part of an ongoing court battle between the two companies that has been active for over a year, instigated by Apple's initial November 2010 accusation that NT-K's tablet copied the iPad's design. A short-term customs ban was sought and granted against the small tablet maker's products, and Apple went so far as to file criminal charges following correspondence between the rivaling companies.



NT-K successfully defended itself against the patent attack by Apple against its Android-based tablet, winning a dismissal of the case in November 2011, and is now attempting to prove that the tech giant's litigation was aggressive enough to be considered extortion under Spanish law.



According to FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller, Spanish extortion "comes down to someone with the intent to enrich himself forcing, through violence or intimidation, his victim to commit or desist from an act or transaction to the economic detriment of the victim or a third party."



Mueller goes on to say that while NT-K's argument that Apple sought to enrich itself through legal action against the small company is cogent on the surface, aggressive enforcement of patent rights is not a necessarily a criminal offense.





NT-K Pad | Source: NT-K







Since Apple's allegations were dismissed, NT-K can possibly recover damages and pursue other legal action, but the iPad maker's actions are likely to fall short of being interpreted as extortion. Mueller notes that while Apple's litigation may be characterized as "bullying," there was most likely reasonable foundation for a dispute and as such both parties have the right to state their grievances and threaten legal action.



The small Spanish tablet maker is planning to publish documentation regarding the extortion case against Apple on its blog in the coming week.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    Huh. Is it really in these guys' best interest to bring themselves into the spotlight? Looks like Samsung could sue them for direct design copying.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I'd love to see some photos of there device. From what I saw last time it really did look like Apple in the wrong.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Huh. Is it really in these guys' best interest to bring themselves into the spotlight? Looks like Samsung could sue them for direct design copying.



    Can you sue for a copy of a copy of a copy?
  • Reply 3 of 30
    atmatm Posts: 2member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I'd love to see some photos of there device. From what I saw last time it really did look like Apple in the wrong.



    Tableta NT-K Pad
  • Reply 4 of 30








    It's a tablet, yes. But a copy of the iPad? Not so much. TouchPad, maybe.
  • Reply 5 of 30
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,485member
    These no name companies making tablets not sure why apple bother they will shoot themselves anyway.



    My in-laws went to one of those stupid time share weekends and for their trouble they were give a no name Android table valued at $500. Well junk does not describe this thing, It says the touch screen best works with a stylus. and it has buttons all over it. My in-laws wanted to use it to surf the web and maybe check their email, we try to set up the email, which they use google mail and you think it should work, well it didn't it kept coming back and said it failed to authenticate with the server. So we attempted to go in view the browsers and it would not allow us it keep saying the security cert was out of date or not valid.



    The more we played around with it realize all they did was used the android phone version not the tablet version since it had all kinds of phone features still in the menus and setups information.



    These knock off android tables will just make the whole user experience bad, now my in-laws want a ipad.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    cykzcykz Posts: 81member
    More and more I get the impression that the patent war does Apple no good when it comes to the revolutionary design of the iPad.

    Due to the copycats no one seems to really understand how mindcrunching and bold the 'loose all buttons and keep a finger-broad bevel' really is. I can see the judge looking at two devices and thinking:"huh, what's so special about it?" It seems to me that the more intuitive for the user your invention gets, the harder it is to explain later what's so special about it. I hate to say it, but Apple might be better off quitting the patentwar regarding design. It gets bad press and does not result in competitive advantages. A movie explaining how touch devices looked before the iPad might better show the difference. It won't win a patent war but the public will better understand why others are slavishly copying Apple now.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cykz View Post


    More and more I get the impression that the patent war does Apple no good when it comes to the revolutionary design of the iPad.

    Due to the copycats no one seems to really understand how mindcrunching and bold the 'loose all buttons and keep a finger-broad bevel' really is. I can see the judge looking at two devices and thinking:"huh, what's so special about it?" It seems to me that the more intuitive for the user your invention gets, the harder it is to explain later what's so special about it. I hate to say it, but Apple might be better off quitting the patentwar regarding design. It gets bad press and does not result in competitive advantages. A movie explaining how touch devices looked before the iPad might better show the difference. It won't win a patent war but the public will better understand why others are slavishly copying Apple now.



    IPad has a button. And the bezel is nothing new when it comes to hand held devices.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,296member
    Asking that criminal charges be filed against a tiny tablet manufacturer when they don't immediately bow down does amount to intimidation and bullying, waaay overstepping IMHO. Perhaps Apple may have some good reason to have been overtly aggressive, and my opinion might change after the little guy publishes the communications from Apple over the next week or so. No matter what, this isn't going to get Apple much sympathy and they'll come off looking like the the bad guy.
  • Reply 9 of 30
    I predict this thread will end predictably: picturez of cornerz. Againz.
  • Reply 10 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    I predict this thread will end predictably: picturez of cornerz. Againz.



    I find this corner to be interesting...

  • Reply 11 of 30
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,937member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I'd love to see some photos of there device. From what I saw last time it really did look like Apple in the wrong.





    Can you sue for a copy of a copy of a copy?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PowerMach View Post










    It's a tablet, yes. But a copy of the iPad? Not so much. TouchPad, maybe.





    You guys have no idea WTF you're talking about. It's not just the appearance. It's specific technologies and specific patents. Take it from the guy whose younger brother is an IP attorney and former patent examiner.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Asking that criminal charges be filed against a tiny tablet manufacturer when they don't immediately bow down does amount to intimidation and bullying, waaay overstepping IMHO. Perhaps Apple may have some good reason to have been overtly aggressive, and my opinion might change after the little guy publishes the communications from Apple over the next week or so.





    They clearly had good reason, as this is not something they do often, if ever.



    Quote:

    No matter what, this isn't going to get Apple much sympathy and they'll come off looking like the the bad guy.



    To whom? They don't' care. I don't care. No one really cares.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,296member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    You guys have no idea WTF you're talking about. It's not just the appearance. It's specific technologies and specific patents. Take it from the guy whose younger brother is an IP attorney and former patent examiner.









    They clearly had good reason, as this is not something they do often, if ever.







    To whom? They don't' care. I don't care. No one really cares.



    Public perception is plainly important to Apple. I'm quite surprised you's opine they don't care what the public thinks of them (not that I think you really believe that anyway.)
  • Reply 13 of 30
    ezduzitezduzit Posts: 158member
    apple is being sued because they are trying to 'enrich themselves'.



    how much money would it take for apple to succeed in enriching themselves.



    it would take a lot of money from where they are today, as they are pretty rich now.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    drax7drax7 Posts: 38member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post


    apple is being sued because they are trying to 'enrich themselves'.



    how much money would it take for apple to succeed in enriching themselves.



    it would take a lot of money from where they are today, as they are pretty rich now.



    I have never met an honest Spanish business person.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    I find this corner to be interesting...





    LOL! That's what I'm talkin bout.

    Folks, this thread is officially done. The corner has spoken.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,296member
    From their Homepage (translated from original Spanish):



    "JUSTICE HAS GIVEN THE REASON TO APPLE





    Today the first of November has been published in the media the result of the dismissal by filing a complaint that Apple made the company in November last year.





    It all starts in November 2010 when the customs by Apple orders we retain a major item of tablets that were importing our own brand with NT-K. At the time we receive an Apple burofax which counsels us to destroy our tablets without recourse to justice for alleged plagiarism of his product ipad, we denounce criminally threatening otherwise.





    We have tried several times to explain and demonstrate both Apple customs as our products were significantly different, to no avail.

    We, unlike other companies that have suffered the same problem, we decided not to give up our rights. The December 9 meeting the company Apple burofax threat of us criminal complaint in court.





    Needless to clear all the damage it has caused this unjust accusation , both economically and emotionally to our company.

    The game was held to distribute samples among different customers, which already had commitments for the year 2011, together with complementary products. As we were not only severely affected by the tablets that we have retained, but profits and potential future loss of business, closing doors for noncompliance with customers, suppliers and investors.

    And as if this were not enough, we been reported since then we are on a black list of importers in Brussels for piracy.





    We are a small company like many others in these times of crisis we are trying to get ahead, and it seems grossly unfair that a company the caliber of Apple has to use its dominant influence.





    With the file in this case, reinforce the claim that we made ​​last August to the National Competition Commission (CNC) and are confident that this entity quickly resolved.

    Parallel to this, start the corresponding civil suit against Apple for any consequential, profits and moral damage."



    According to reports, the actual correspondence from Apple may be posted later this week.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Drax7 View Post


    I have never met an honest Spanish business person.



    Start by buying something other than a controlled substance and you'll find plenty.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    I find this corner to be interesting...





    That probably cost more to make than a iPad. Lol
  • Reply 19 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Asking that criminal charges be filed against a tiny tablet manufacturer when they don't immediately bow down does amount to intimidation and bullying, waaay overstepping IMHO. Perhaps Apple may have some good reason to have been overtly aggressive, and my opinion might change after the little guy publishes the communications from Apple over the next week or so. No matter what, this isn't going to get Apple much sympathy and they'll come off looking like the the bad guy.



    Why would Apple look like the bad guy? Apple has been equally aggressive with tablet makers, regardless of size or revenue. Are you suggesting that they give the little guy a break, but treat their billion dollar competitors harsher? Should they have two standards to appease your sense of moral sympathy for underdogs? Let's hope NTK never gets big and successful, lest they lose the sympathy-for-being-small membership card.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Asking that criminal charges be filed against a tiny tablet manufacturer when they don't immediately bow down does amount to intimidation and bullying, waaay overstepping IMHO.



    It might seem excessive but was it overstepping Spanish law for such patent cases. If it wasn't then calling what Apple did extortion is a tad much. They were just playing the game by the rules and tactics given to them.
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