Apple is the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to filing lawsuits against companies for infringing on their patents and intellectual property. So when they filed a lawsuit against Nuevas Tecnologias y Energias Catala, a small 5 person company in Spain, they were able to get the courts there to block the sale of the 7 inch NT-K tablet which were being imported from China and running Android. All of this started back in 2010 and it is being reported this week the Judge in the case ruled against Apple and lifted the injunction from selling the NT-K in Spain.
This seems to be a huge set back for Apple as this was a tiny little company who stood up to them and looks to be a David and Goliath type battle where the little guy has won. Given that this tiny company beat out the huge and all power Apple, they are now looking to recover costs associated with their win against Apple. As a result of their win, they are now going after Apple in a lawsuit claiming anti-competitive actions on the part of Apple in order to stifle competition in the tablet market.
They are also going after the court costs of defending themselves along with the lost sales from the tablet sales. While the potential cost to Apple may be trivial to Apple, the company expected to sell about 15,000 of the NT-K tablets in 2011 at a value of $6.2 to $6.9 million. Apple could be facing settlement costs many multiples of that number given that this action by Apple was arbitrary and appears to be without merit and if the company is able to prove that in court, there may be huge fines against the company to send a message to them.
Apple continues to be involved an many different legal actions around the world, most notably against Samsung and those actions are currently focused on the active trial in Northern California where they two companies are engaged in a legal battle. Recent statements there by the Judge seem to imply that Apple is going to have to prove that their iPad patents are valid and enforceable and if they are not, they could have a ruling against them which would be huge in nature.
For now, this loss in Spain really does not hurt Apple, but it may be a signal to them that they need to make sure that they are filing court documents where they can legally prove their case and not do it just to stop the competition. For Apple, the lawsuits are continuing.