image credit schmidling.com
The Spanish courts have decided against Apple, Inc. in its design patent dispute with NT-K, a small tablet manufacturer in Spain. Using the same arguments that have been partially upheld in Germany, and dismissed in the Netherlands, Apple brought an import ban and subsequent lawsuit against the small OEM, had their company placed in a European list of "pirated electronics" and even went as far as pursuing criminal charges -- all over rounded corners and a similar look and feel. NT-K decided they weren't going to take this sitting down, and aggressively fought back, -- finding victory in the courtroom.
While we consider the arrogance of filing criminal charges and mumble under our breath, we can also feel a tiny bit of justice ourselves -- NT-K has filed a suit for monetary damages, lost profits, and "moral damages," and is in the process of filing anti-trust proceedings against Apple alleging abusive anti competitive behavior. I loathe lawsuits between tech companies, because in the end the consumers are the biggest losers. In this case however, I hope NT-K wins their suit, only to teach Apple an expensive lesson (that they hopefully wont pass the costs of to their customers). And if the Spanish courts find that Apple does violate antitrust laws, I hope other countries take a close look.
There's nothing wrong with an iPad. A good friend of mine just got himself one, and he agrees that other than the drag of iTunes, they make a great product. There's a good reason why so many people buy an iPad. But the way to keep their 100 percent market saturation was to innovate, not stifle competition. I hope this hits home and they reconsider, but I'm doubtful.