Beleaguered Creative sues Apple for alleged iPod patent infringement

“Creative Technology Ltd. on Monday filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Apple Computer Inc., charging the maker of the market-leading iPod media player of infringing on Creative’s patents for some of its own music-playing devices,” Rex Crum reports for MarketWatch. “Creative said that it wants the ITC to investigate whether Apple violated the Singapore-based patents for the former company’s Zen brand-name device, and is asking the organization to force Apple to stop “engaging in sales, marketing, importation or sale after importation into the United States” of what Creative called infringing iPod and iPod nano products.”

“Creative also announced that it filed suit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for an injunction against, and undisclosed damages from Apple,” Crum reports. “Apple has the top spot in the media-player market, with more than 50 million devices sold since the iPod’s introduction in late 2001. NPD Techworld estimates that Apple has about 75% of the U.S. market for MP3 players, with all other competitors in the low single-digit range.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bobby” for the heads up.]
Okay, Derivative, er, “Creative,” we knew you secured a patent. Big deal. That was the easy part. Now, let’s see how enforceable your patent really is before the inevitable end comes to your self-declared, one-sided “war.” Apple should play some serious hardball with Creative and maybe, when all is said and done, it’ll help discourage the granting of dubious, overly-broad patents.

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Related articles:
Beleaguered Creative Technology circles the bowl – May 02, 2006
Beleaguered Creative Technology reports largest operating loss in at least five years – April 10, 2006
Joke of the Day: Red Herring headline: ‘Creative may be iPod threat’ – February 28, 2006
S&P Equity downgrades Creative Technology, cites ‘increased competition from Apple Computer’ – February 14, 2006
Apple unveils new 1GB iPod nano for $149; iPod shuffle now starting at just $69 – February 07, 2006
Beleaguered Creative reports 95-percent slump in quarterly profit – January 26, 2006
Don’t call them podcasts! Derivative, er, Creative introduces ZenCast app for ‘audio & video blogs’ – January 04, 2006
Creative’s Zen Vision:M green with Apple iPod envy – December 09, 2005
Apple faces prospect of bruising iPod patent dispute from Creative Technology – December 09, 2005
Creative Technology’s official press relase for Zen Vision:M Apple iPod knockoff – December 08, 2005
Creative’s Sim Wong Hoo vows to ‘aggressively pursue’ Apple over iPod patent – December 08, 2005
Creative announces 30GB Zen Vision:M video-enabled ‘iPod killer’ – December 07, 2005
Beleaguered Creative waves white flag, surrenders self-declared MP3 player war to Apple iPod – November 07, 2005
Beleaguered Creative shifts promotional efforts from music players to new sound card line – September 21, 2005
Apple debuts iPod nano, iTunes 5: how are Microsoft, Napster, Real, Creative, Sony feeling today? – September 08, 2005
Creative explores new way to beat Apple iPod: patent litigation – August 30, 2005
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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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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
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  1. Patent law states, among other things, that you need to vigorously enforce your patents to keep them in force. It should have been obvious to them as early as four full years ago that their patent was being infringed upon – if that was actually the case. As recently as early last year I was reading reviews of the iPod and other MP3 players that raved about how much better the iPod interface is than that of the competition – including Creative’s products. Apparently the reviewers failed to note many similarities.

  2. From PC Mag:
    “While there’s still some work to do before Microsoft launches Windows Media Player 11 for real . . .”

    LMAO! I loved that line. That’s the same sort of understatement Gates and Ballmer have been saying about LongVistaHorn for close to a decade.

    Microsoft. Number 1 in the world in vaporware . . . from now on.
    We’re Sheeple Ready!

  3. Apple’s response to fluff lawsuits like this should be to swamp Creative with legal costs. I have no sympthathy for companies that file ridiculous patents lawsuits which get granted because the U.S. patent office is too overwhelmed to check for prior art. Apple should make sure Creative literally pays for making such a claim – if Creative thinks they have a chance of winning, they are going to be in for a rude shock.

  4. Yawn. Another day, another patent lawsuit. The media trumpets them as if a suit is suddenly going to change everything. In case you haven’t noticed, suits such as this one take many many years to come to a conclusion, and the iPod is a rapidly advancing technology. Even if, by some miracle, Creative won the suit, it would likely be irrelevant by then, the iPod having evolved into something far beyond the point of the argument. Creative (or more likely their creditors) would get a settlement, and life would go on.

  5. Actually, I have one more comment: When Creative first trumpeted their patent, I doubted a suit would ever be filed. Given how expensive such a suit can be and how long it can take to resolve, I didn’t think Creative had the finances left to survive such a campaign. That they’ve decided to go ahead and file to me shows obvious signs of desperation. Creative clearly believes they have nothing left to lose.

  6. Sorry MacandPC, but it looks like you picked up a second rate reviewer to go with that second rate Windows OS you favor.

    Go on over to Cnet’s and read another review. Then read the comments by the readers. Remember, Cnet has always been very Windows centric, biased towards all things Microshaft. Judging from the comments from even the Windoze fanboys, WMP 11 sucketh the big one.

    It’s really hard to compete when all you do is copy. Microsuck copies Apple, so its products will always be nothing more than cheap imitations.

  7. Miller: It’s the bottom of the ninth, two outs and Andres Gallaraga is coming to the plate for Creative. They are going to need a Kurt Gibson miracle here if they think they can beat Apple.

    Kyper: And then some.

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