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Apple accused of extortion by rival tablet biz

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Tablet maker Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá, the company behind one of Apple's rare court defeats, is now taking the fruity tech titan to court for extortion.

Apple alleged that the teeny-tiny company's tablet, sold in Spain under the NT-K brand, was a forged iPad, and on that basis convinced custom officials to impound shipments of the rival gear coming into Spain. Those shipments ended up sitting in a warehouse for a year, costing NT-K dearly, and now it wants to see Apple hauled up for extortion as well as recovering some damages.

There aren't many details available yet, though the first page of the indictment has been seen by El Reg, and the legal definition of "extortion" is a complicated one even before one takes the vulgarities of translation into account.

Apple litigation buff Florian Mueller, who fortunately speaks Spanish as well as understanding court procedures, reckons it's iffy ground. He proposes that NT-K will argue Apple tried to enrich itself by intimidating the company into dropping the product, but Mueller also admits his knowledge of how the Spanish legal system defines "extortion" came from Wikipedia, so best not bet the farm on it.

NT-K did achieve an impressive success against Apple, and deserves restitution from the company, but one can't help wondering if that success hasn't inspired a little too much baseless optimism - David can defeat Goliath once, but next time he might decide to wear a hat. ®

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