While Apple has been hit with a number of lawsuits recently, the company has now filed one of its own against a French activist group over an episode that occurred in an Apple Store in France.
French publication The Local reports that Apple is suing Attac (the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and Aid to Citizens) for the relatively small amount of €3,000 (about $3,600). This comes after 100 members of the group publicly protested Apple’s tax practices by occupying the Paris flagship Apple Store last month on December 2nd. Apple says it doesn’t disagree with the right to protest, but flooding its store to do so was potentially harmful to its customers and staff.
An Apple spokesman told AFP on Thursday that while it respected the group’s right to expression, its recent actions had “put the security of our customers and employees at risk.”
In addition to the low ball €3,000 compensation, Apple is seeking a French court order to ban Attac from future protests with a penalty of €150,000 if that ban is broken which is ultimately their goal.
This is not the first time Attac has protested Apple, particularly regarding its Irish tax affairs. Notably the group protested on November 3rd, the iPhone X launch day by dumping apples in front of the Aix-en-Provence Apple Store along with signs saying “Apple, pay your taxes.”
Attac sees the lawsuit as not only an attempt to prevent the group from protesting against the company, but also other multinational companies.
But Dominique Plihon, a spokesman for Attac France, said the lawsuit was “an attempt to gag Attac and prevent us from holding new citizen actions to condemn tax evasion by multinationals”.
Even though Apple has been fined by the European Commission to the tune of €15B in the Irish tax case, the company is appealing the ruling. It could be a while before we see a final verdict.