Creative plans ‘very vigorous defense’ of iPod navigation patent

“U.S. law is designed to encourage the maximum inventiveness. And although there has been a cornucopia of independent inventors in the U.S., many important patents today are the property of large corporations capable of exploiting them,” Chris Noon reports for Forbes. “But not this one, and that could mean trouble for Steve Jobs’ Apple Computer. Singapore-based digital audio company Creative Technology has been awarded a U.S. patent for user-interface technology in its portable media players and those of its competitors. The patent apparently covers technology that enables users to navigate among the thousands of songs that can be stored on digital music players.”

“How will Creative enforce the patent? ‘We plan to be very vigorous in the defense of our intellectual property,’ Craig McHugh, president of Creative’s U.S. unit, was quoted as saying. ‘We are going to look at all the alternatives that the patent provides. We can look at legal remedies,’ he added,” Noon reports. “Pundits wonder if Creative’s controversy is a joint attempt by the company and Microsoft to shake Apple from its perch. For Creative’s claims follow hot on the heels of the rejection of Apple’s iPod-related patent application due to archrival Microsoft’s filing of a similar application five months earlier.”

Full article here.

Danit Lidor also reports for Forbes, “The ‘breaking news’ e-mail alert issued to reporters Tuesday morning by Creative Labs was bound to attract attention. It trumpeted news that the company had received a patent for an important interface used in portable media players. The alert named Apple Computer four times, noting that Creative Labs had applied for its patent well before Apple’s iPod hit the market. The implication, as subtle as a freight train, was that Creative planned to assert its patent against Apple.”

“Apple’s iPod has a commanding 80% of the U.S. portable music player market versus 9% for Creative. But McHugh said there was no connection between its trailing sales in that market and any possible legal action against Apple. Creative posted a $32 million loss in its fiscal fourth quarter ended in June, a reversal from a $6.6 million profit last year.”

Lidor explains how Creative used the patent press release to lure media to a conference call where “rather than discuss what was promised, Creative used the opportunity to shill for a new line of handheld digital entertainment products, which were barely mentioned in the patent news alert.”

Full article here.
Very vigorous defense? Like, as “vigorous” as one would be in a “war?” Yawn.

Related articles:
Creative explores new way to beat Apple iPod: patent litigation – August 30, 2005
Microsoft has not, repeat not, patented Apple’s iPod – August 17, 2005
Beleaguered Creative Technology’s ‘war’ on Apple iPod not faring well – August 15, 2005
Microsoft to allow Apple to license iPod patent? – August 15, 2005
The real story on Microsoft’s ‘Apple iPod’ playlist patent – August 12, 2005
Patent lawyer: Microsoft and Apple iPod patent saga is much ado about nothing – August 12, 2005
Microsoft beats Apple in iPod patent race? – August 11, 2005
Microsoft researcher involved in rejected Apple iPod patent – August 10, 2005
Apple’s patent application for Pod’s menu-based software interface rejected – August 09, 2005
Apple’s iPod shine dims beleaguered Creative Technology’s outlook – August 08, 2005
Microsoft not buying stake in Creative Technology – August 02, 2005
Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo adds fronts to war against Apple iPod – August 01, 2005
Analyst: Microsoft could buy Creative Technlogy in bid to compete with Apple iPod – July 14, 2005
Beleaguered Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo ‘optimistic’ the company will survive ‘MP3 war’ – July 01, 2005
Beleaguered Creative may have to write off unsold stock as losses loom – June 28, 2005
Creative Tech’s reduced outlook drags on Apple, PortalPlayer, SigmaTel – June 27, 2005
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Apple squeezes and Creative’s profit plunges 72-percent – April 23, 2005
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Creative’s self-declared ‘MP3 player war’ against Apple isn’t going very well – January 20, 2005
Creative CEO: Apple iPod shuffle ‘a big let-down, worse than the cheapest Chinese player’ – January 12, 2005
Creative declares ‘war’ on Apple iPod, shoots for 40% market share of MP3 players – December 21, 2004
Creative Technology declares ‘MP3 War’ against market-dominating Apple iPod – November 17, 2004
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44 Comments

  1. Apple should sue Creative on the behalf of all the customers who got a virus from using a Zen.

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/30/0118252&from=rss

    Apple could always buy Creative in a hostile takeover, they are only worth $600 million, Apple has billions in cash.

    Perhaps that’s what Creative wants, they know they lost and are going the way of Rio.

    If Apple buys Creative they will get 3DLabs, which makes awesome video cards.

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