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24 Sep 2018

Apple lawsuit against Attac (re tax avoidance protests)

On 4 January 2018, Apple filed a summon for urgent proceedings against the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and Aid to Citizens (Attac) before a Paris court over sit-ins in some of the company’s French store in Paris on 2 December 2017 where the NGO protested the alleged wide-scale tax evasion by the company revealed through the Paradise Papers.

Apple claimed that Attac’s activists vandalized its shops and were an imminent threat to the security of its employees and customers. Apple sought 3000 euros (US$ 3600) from Attac as well as a court order preventing the group from organizing further protests in its stores for three years, subject to a penalty of 150,000 euros (US$ 175,000). Following the summon, a spokesman for Attac France said the lawsuit was a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) which aimed to prevent the organization from condemning tax evasion by multinationals.

On 12 February 2018, the court dismissed the claim due to the lack of imminent threats. It also required Apple to pay 2000 euros to Attac to cover its legal fees. Attac welcomed the decision and stated that the court had recognised the legitimacy of their actions and the general interest aspect of their activism. 

News items

"Apple loses legal battle with French tax activists", BBC (UK), 26 Feb 2018
"Apple takes French tax activists to court", ABS-CBN (Philippines), 4 Jan 2018
- [FR] “Apple attaque en justice Attac et veut interdire les militants de l'association altermondialiste dans ses magasins”, FranceInfo, 4 Jan 2018

 Attac Statements

- [FR] Procès #AppleContreAttac : Apple condamnée, Attac agit pour « l’intérêt général », , 23 Feb 2018
[FR] Apple et BNP Paribas veulent bâillonner Attac, 4 Jan 2018

Legal documents

- [FR] Document de l’assignation en référé d’Apple à Attac , 21 Dec 2017