Late last year, Apple sued little-known Android tablet maker NT-K for “copying” the iPad. No big deal there; Cupertino’s always had pretty lax lawsuit trigger discipline. But that December it also took the batshit nutso step of filing criminal charges, which were finally tossed this week.
When Apple originally lodged its complaints, which stated NT-K “reproduced on the device itself and/or packaging registered Community designs, which shall belong exclusively to Apple”, it had a full customs ban put into place. That saw NT-K’s shipments and NT-K itself placed on the European Union’s list of product pirates. Jeez. But Apple took it even further and filed criminal charges, which have absolutely no business in an intellectual property case.
Now that NT-K’s cleared its name, it’s going on the offensive, filing an Antitrust case against Apple for anticompetitive behaviour and suing the company for damages, lost profits and “moral damages”. 9to5mac also notes that since the same Community design right is asserted in Apple’s Samsung filings, their position is weakened in those cases as well.
Apple had been on a Patent War win streak, mainly pummelling Samsung into the dirt, but it’s welcome news that the little guy can still peel off a win or two against the big time patent gestapos. [NT-K, Foss Patents via 9to5mac, Cult of Mac]