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
Creative Tech cuts sales outlook, drags Apple down in early trading – June 27, 2005
Apple passed 20 million iPods sold milestone in early June – June 24, 2005
Apple’s understanding of what really counts makes iPod+iTunes impossible to beat – June 22, 2005
Creative Technology shares slide to lowest mark in almost two years – May 18, 2005
Apple squeezes and Creative’s profit plunges 72-percent – April 23, 2005
Apple iPod pressure forces Creative to drop prices on music players – March 01, 2005
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
Mossberg: Dell, Rio, Creative ‘iPod mini killers’ lag badly behind Apple iPod mini – October 27, 2004
Creative pushes to become ‘Pepsi’ to Apple’s ‘Coke’ in digital music player market – August 07, 2004


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

    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.

  2. Hierarchical File System Wikipedia
    HFS DeveloperApple
    Full NameHierarchical File System
    Introduced1985 (System 2.0)

    Hierarchical File syste (HFS), is a file system developed by Apple Computer for use on computers running Mac OS. Originally designed for use on floppy and hard disks, it can also be found on read-only media such as CD-ROMs.

    HFS was introduced in September 1985 as a new file system for Macintosh computers. It superseded the Macintosh File syste (MFS) which was a flat file system, used only on the earliest Mac models. Because Macintosh computers use richer data than other commonly available file systems such as FAT used by DOS or the original Unix file system would allow, Apple developed a new more appropriate file system, rather than adopting an existing specification. For example, HFS permits filenames up to 31 characters in length, supports metadata and dual forked (separate data and resource forks per file) files.
    While HFS like most other file systems may be seen as a proprietary format, because it was so well documented there are usually solutions available to access HFS formatted disks from most modern operating systems.
    In 1998, Apple introduced HFS Plus to address inefficient allocation of disk space in HFS and to add other improvements. HFS is still supported by current versions of Mac OS, but starting with Mac OS X an HFS volume cannot be used for booting.

  3. Since Creative had this interface since late 2000, why didn’t they complain about the iPod’s interface in 2001 when it first came out? I know they only just got the patent, but they could have said something about iPod before now. To complain about something that has been in existence for almost four years sounds fishy to me.

  4. I am officialy boycotting the new creative soud cards.

    I am in the retail hardware biz, and I will deter all my customers away from the creative brand.

    Thats right I am a Mac user stuck selling PCs… and you wonder why I need theropy.

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