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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47 Comments

  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 http://www.news.com 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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