Beleaguered Creative issues press release: US ITC to investigate Apple iPod for patent infringement

Creative Technology has issued a press release, reproduced verbatim below:

U.S. International Trade Commission voted to institute an Investigation of Apple iPod for Infringement of Creative’s Zen Patent
Creative Asserts That the ‘ZEN Patent’ Covers the User Interface of Both Creative’s NOMAD and ZEN Portable Digital Media Players and Apple’s iPod, iPod Nano and iPod Mini

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif., June 14, 2006 — Creative Technology Ltd., a worldwide leader in digital entertainment products, today announced that the U.S. International Trade Commission has voted to institute an investigation of Apple Computer Inc. for the iPod’s infringement of U.S. Patent 6,928,433, which Creative refers to as the “ZEN Patent.” Creative asserts that the ZEN Patent covers the user interface in Creative NOMAD and ZEN portable digital media players and the iPod, iPod Nano and iPod Mini.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Creative Labs, Inc., of Milpitas, CA, and Creative Technology Ltd. of Singapore on May 15, 2006. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain portable digital media players that infringe Creative’s ZEN Patent. Creative has requested that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist order.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-573), the ITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The case will be referred to the Honorable Paul J. Luckern, an ITC administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing, which is typically heard in approximately five to eight months. Judge Luckern will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission. Typically the Commission will issue its ruling in 12 to 15 months of the institution of the investigation.

The ITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation.

Creative’s filing with the U.S. International Trade Commission is posted at http://edisweb.usitc.gov/edismirror/337- 573/Violation/254079/287737/bba/754074.pdf

The full text and images of the ZEN Patent, U.S. 6,928,433 are available at http://www.uspto.gov
Yawn.

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21 Comments

  1. Oh that’s it, Apple is finally dead. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    How long did Apple sue Microsoft over copying Mac OS X?

    I suspect Apple’s war chest is a lot bigger than Creative.

    Of course I know some ex-cons who need some extra money and wouldn’t mind some “foreign” travel.

    hehehehe

  2. The legal wrangling doesn’t help anyone in the long run and will just cause headaches. Wallstreet will get even more unnecessarily skittish, for one.

    I agree about not liking Creative. There has been a personal attack against Apple– $100million declaration of “war,” talking smack, litigation to replace real competition. Creative comes across like a whiny, vindictive child to me.

  3. i found this on the itc site:
    June 12, 2006
    News Release 06-053
    Inv. No. 337-TA-573
    Contact: Peg O’Laughlin, 202-205-1819
    ITC INSTITUTES SECTION 337 INVESTIGATION ON CERTAIN PORTABLE DIGITAL MEDIA PLAYERS

    The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain portable digital media players. The products at issue in this investigation are MP3 players.

    The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Creative Labs, Inc., of Milpitas, CA, and Creative Technology Ltd. of Singapore on May 15, 2006. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain portable digital media players that infringe a patent owned by the complainants. The complainants request that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders.

    The ITC has identified Apple Computer, Inc., of Cupertino, CA, as the respondent in this investigation.

    By instituting this investigation (337-TA-573), the ITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The case will be referred to the Honorable Paul J. Luckern, an ITC administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. Judge Luckern will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.

    The ITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. ITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.

  4. This is what Apple will do now.

    They will create a entirely new iPod with a new interface that is not like anything else so they won’t have to pull their product from the market.

    Then they will engage in a protracted and lenghtly war of legal attribution to settle any settlement Creative may get awarded if it so happens.

    Remember the Kodak vs Poloroid lawsuit?

    Kodak made a ton of cash, slow played Poloroid in court so long and eventually Poloroid won and got a settlement, Kodak had to pull their instant film cameras from the market.

    Just so happens digtal technology took off and Poloroid wound up being obsolete.

    Anyone who had money bought a digital camera instead of a Poloroid.

    Apple has proven with the colored iPod Mini to iPod Nano switch that they control innovation.

  5. Dear R: In a word, NO.

    The volume of noise generated by Creative and the company’s lawyers is to me a sign of utter desperation. This is little more than FUD, an attempt to hurt Apple, and at least is a negotiation ploy. This kind of scorched earth strategy is one that I hope totally backfires on them.

    R, if you live by the sword, you can die by it too. And in this case, Creative is the kind of company that deserves to auger nose-first into the earth, so much so that you can’t even find the tail fin. And the sooner, the better.

    Scumbags.

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