May 15, 2006 3:19 PM PDT

Creative sues Apple over iPod interface

Singapore-based electronics maker Creative Technology said Monday that it has filed two legal actions against Apple Computer, charging the popular iPod infringes on its patented technology.

In a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, Creative is seeking an injunction that would stop Apple from selling the iPod and iPod Nano in the United States. Separately, Creative said it has also sued Apple in U.S. District Court in California, seeking an injunction and damages.

In both cases, Creative says that the iPod and iPod Nano infringe on a patent the company has for the interface in its Zen media player, a patent granted last August.

Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo said in December that the company would "aggressively pursue" those that infringed on its patent.

An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.

Creative is not the first to seek a cut of Apple's iTunes and iPod revenue, citing patent issues. Pat-rights, a Hong Kong company, has said Apple's digital rights management technology infringes on its intellectual property, while another company, Contois Music & Technology, said the iTunes interface uses its patented technology.

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149 comments

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Creative?
Creative makes SoundBlaster. 'Nuff for me. I bought their crappy
MP3 players when they first came out, and didn't enjoy them too
much. Along came iPod. Easy to use, thank you.

If Creative's stuff was selling, they wouldn't be suing. When was the
last time you saw a Zen or Rio commercial?
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hi. Zen owner here.
When iPod first came out, it too was crap (in addition to being much more overpriced than it is right now).

Anyway, the courts will decide whether or not Apple is in the wrong. Incidentally, Apple seems to be one of the few companies that <A href="http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/06/2045255">sues</A> when their products DO sell.
Posted by bourgtai (105 comments )
Link Flag
Same
I also bought a Zen, but returned it two days later after almost going insane trying to navigate my library with it's ridiculous little joystick (which they've finally replaced). I instead opted for an iPod that was $20 more with half the storage, BUT about half the size and infinitely easier to control.
Posted by 199657710366057339589467585945 (18 comments )
Link Flag
Creative?
Hey, if you can't make it in the market sue somebody that can.
Heaven forbid that you actually have to compete on the merits of
your product. :-)
Posted by protagonistic (1868 comments )
Link Flag
Does iPod infringe on its patented technology?
Creative Technology said Monday that it has filed two legal actions against Apple Computer, charging the popular iPod infringes on its patented technology. ... In both cases, Creative says that the iPod and iPod Nano infringe on a patent the company has for the interface in its Zen media player, a patent granted last August.

Gerard Rotonda
Posted by gerard rotonda (22 comments )
Link Flag
Its true, but too late.
Before the Ipod, the Zen had the scroll interface you are used to seeing by now. But Creative should have pursued this years ago, by now Apple and Creative's interfaces are each unique.
Posted by wazzledoozle (288 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pity, was interested in the zen vision
I was interested in the zen vision, but I don't buy from patent trolls.
This patent is a prime example of what's broken in our patent
system, it fails the unobvious standard.
Posted by GadgetDon (760 comments )
Link Flag
Creative is feeling the pinch.
I think Creative finally realizes they can't compete which
they should have known a long time ago. Apple is too much of
giant for them to compete with. It will be hard for any company
to catch up to them. Microsoft just might.. but it too will also fail
eventually. Apple has too much of a lead and too much of strong
brand name for them to compete with.

I think Creative has exhausted there R&#38;D and they probably
don't have any money to spend on that. Bad business planning
on there part trying to compete with the IPOD without a music
service or a good software program to store music.

I think Creative will be looking the way of the dodo very soon
and join the other failed brand names out there like RIO.

Bye Creative.
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Link Flag
Haha, I love it.
'Bout time Creative did something about it. Apple's been copying them for quite some time now. I mean, look at the current iPod Video; it's a complete rip-off of the Zen Vision:M. Creative's players have always been superior to the iPod in features and sound quality (Built-in FM Tuner/Recorder, mic; higher signal-to-noise ratio than the iPod's; etc.)
Posted by Psythik (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Other way around
The iPod with video came out before the Zen Vision:M, making the Vision:M the complete knockoff. And radio? Have you listened to the radio quality of these MP3 players? Horrible! Plus why would you want to listen to the radio when you have an MP3 player? I stopped listening to the radio the day I got my iPod to play in my car. For the record, Apple does sell an FM receiver for the iPod separately if that's reallly important to you. Much better solution than throwing it into the device itself, making it more bulky and raising the cost for a feature only 1% of the iPod owners would ever use.
Posted by 199657710366057339589467585945 (18 comments )
Link Flag
That's CRAZY TALK
You have GOT to be kidding. Either that or you are totally ignorant. There is nothing Creative about Creative. Why would Apple copy a non-creative company.

Your state is tantamount to accusing Apple of of ripping-off Dell.

And if, as you say, Apple has "ripped-off" Creative. How come Creative's MP3 Sales are much lower than Apple's.
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Link Flag
Lawsuit: New business model?
So is it just media focus these days, or is it becoming a (deviant)
business model to wait until some company has a sucessful
product (and therefore money) then sue them in hopes of getting
some of it?

Why innovate and produce when you can just stand behind a
building corner and wait for someone with money to come along?
Posted by Curmudge (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Risky business
When it doesn't work, could be left with big legal bills to pay. If it's so risky, is it a sign of desperation from Creative? mmm...
Posted by kool_skatkat (982 comments )
Link Flag
You are SO RIGHT!
Businesses are going to be afraid to innovate. And we the consumer will pay for it in the end.
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Link Flag
If you are right
And you probably are since software patents are total BS, all they need to do is look at SCO and see what happens when litigation is a major part of your business plan and you are not a law firm.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
Why? Money. Why else?
"Why innovate and produce when you can just stand behind a building corner and wait for someone with money to come along?"

Probably the same reason some companies wait for others to invent the technology, then steal it, put it in cute little boxes and spend 3/4 of their budget doing targeted marketing to people who can't figure out for themselves what is more important in a music player, how it looks or how it sounds.

Yes, the scroll wheel is nice if you do a lot of navigating around your collection on the go. I spend more time LISTENING to the playlists I have created using the PC or letting my 60GB Zen Xtra shuffle through my 13,500 track collection (other than the 50 or so classical demo tracks included when purchased, all ripped from CD's on my computer using a quality encoder. Not a single low-quality downloaded piece of garbage.). And it takes about 90 seconds to replace the Lithium-Ion battery :)
Posted by Mgradyc (8 comments )
Link Flag
Remember when Apple sued Microsoft?
That was over Windows...which in in my personal opinion did adopt Apple's interface (using icons as shortcuts)...but after protracted litigation with cases such as Altai and Wheeland...Microsoft got away with it.

As for Apple, any company that names a system sound file "Sosumi" gets my vote. BTW, that file had nothing to do with Apple Records, but the same sound designer Jim Reekes also named another sound file "Let it Beep"!

Now that's classy action!
Posted by iodax (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Don't forget Xerox
Xerox was the first company to come up with the idea for a GUI and a "mouse." Apple came along and purchased the technology from them.

Apple wasn't the first company to come up with this, somebody else did. And I know it urks the fanboys when I say this, but Apple isn't the source of all of the important innovation in the world. In fact, ever since the Newton flopped, Apple has taken a even more stand-offish approach in that they will let other companies prove that a market exists before Apple enters with its own product.

The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player. Apple waited until it saw a market emerge for MP3 players before making the iPod from parts made by existing manufacturers.

It may surprise some people, but Apple hardly ever creates their own hardware. Sure, they'll come up with cool innovative cases and designs with features that will definitely turn heads, but in the end it's just a repackaging of existing hardware technology that someone else spent tons of money and research hours into developing.

Don't get me wrong, Apple's re-designs are usually much more superior than the original product. Even so, all Apple really does is wait for other companies to prove a market before taking the existing technology and improving upon it. That's all they do.

They took Xerox's groundbreaking GUI and made Mac OS. They took Linux/BSD and improved it with OS-X, they took MP3 players and improved them with the iPod, the took Intel x86 computers and improved them with the new iMacs and PowerBook Pros, etc, etc, etc... Do you know when Apple made its first server platform? Apple released their first server in 2002! Thats just 4 years ago! Now, Apple is working on a media center computer. The market for such devices have already been proven by software such as Microsofts Media Center and existing open-source software. And there are numerous existing vendors that will make a media center PC for you.

Despite all of Apple's improvements, they hardly come up with original products any more. They just don't create markets. Which is why, in my opinion, Microsoft will always lead Apple. Im not saying this to flame Apple, its just an expression of my disappointment in the way Apple does business.

How can Apple be a leader, if all they do is follow?

Apple could do so much more if they had the balls to take charge, lead with new innovative technologies and products, and apply their talents to make it right the first time.
Posted by rderveloy (16 comments )
Link Flag
It's amazing how many companies with "the idea"
never seem to be able to produce "the product". You snooze you lose, period. And by the way, it's not the "Zen interface" that made the iPod a success. It's the end-to-end experience that is second to none. Without iTunes, the iPod surely would have been another loser with the rest of them. That's what these morons don't get. Even if they do succeed to put the iPod out of business, nothing comparable will take its place. And don't put it past Apple to come up with an alternative that will just blow the others away again!
Posted by frankz00 (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by moocna (11 comments )
Link Flag
Is this another attempt at a shakedown?
Creative's best hope is that Apple Computer tosses several million
dollars their way to go away.
Posted by CBSTV (780 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You got that right!
What a pathetic ploy to hose Apple's Ipod business. I have an idea. How about Creative CREATE a better product.
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Link Flag
Creative is still around?!
I thought they shut down due to lack of sales. I don't seem to see their hardware anywhere and I don't know anyone using their products, so I assumed they closed down. My mistake though!

Keep up the good fight guys at Creative. Maybe you guys might win a lawsuit in 10 years or so after you're bankrupt.
Posted by David Dudley (446 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Must be a Fanboy
Please open your eyes and look around. There are many happy creative customers around including me.

They won the patent which is used by Apply proudcts. They have right to sue. Every company does the same thing, including your beloved Apple.
Posted by totalconfirm (12 comments )
Link Flag
Sure they are
Open up your PC and have a look who made your soundcard.
Posted by City_Of_LA (118 comments )
Link Flag
There's an eye-roller if I ever saw one.
Davey, have you heard of Soundblaster X-Fi? Or anything of the Soundblaster product line? Creative isn't dead, they're far from it.
Posted by bourgtai (105 comments )
Link Flag
That's what i thought...
When is this company going to "GIVE UP THE GHOST" already.

Senator Lloyd Bentson: Creative "You are no Ipod Killer."
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Link Flag
War in the market place or in courts
If you can't win the market place, there's always the courts. Surely Apple will pay big money to keep iTunes going.
Posted by kool_skatkat (982 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No...
Creative is a successful company with a large product catalogue. Unlike other companies that have only made their fortuntes off 1 product that they constantly "reinvent" every 6 months so idiots will run out and buy it again.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I took UMBRAGE to that UMBRAE
You are compairing APPLES to oranges. Apple also has a thriving Macbook business, software, etc. They are more than the ipod.
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Link Flag
Can't compete... SUE!
First of all let me say that I don't like software patents and second I don't think Creative should have been given that patent.

With all that said I am ashamed of Creative for becoming a company that uses lawsuits as a tactic to compete. The ZEN player is a fine product, but I certainly won't buy one now. I wouldn't say a word had Creative had a player out for years using this menu system and then Apple came along and ripped them off, but the fact is that in this case you had two companies come up with the same idea around the same time.

I really hope the judge not only throws this case out (which he won't), but at the end of the day the patent is invalidated.

Now before somebody goes calling me a Mac fanatic, I would be just as upset if Apple used this to go after Creative. In this case I think this patent shouldn't have been granted to either side or to anyone else.

That's just my opinion and always subject to change.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Zen Xtra Owner
I checked out what was available years and years ago when I was looking for a hard drive based MP3 player and while Apple had been around for a while, they still didn't have a product I wanted.

I ended up with a Zen Xtra Nomad with 40Gb HDD. It had more features, better construction, a user-replacable battery, longer life span, built in multiple bookmarks, and just plain *worked*. Oh, and it was also $200 less than the closest comparable iPod.

My friend is a big Mac supporter and purchased his 30Gb iPod a few weeks before I bought my MP3 player. He's on his third player now, with the first one dying, the second one dying, and the third one because he had to keep up with the latest and greatest that Apple had to offer- you know, because it's cool to have the latest tech or you're nothing.

Years later he's on his third iPod, having given Apple more than $1000 of his money so far, and *still* hasn't caught up with my Zen.

Is the iPod the best music player around? For my money, no. For my friend's? Probably. He certainly has to replace enough of them to keep up with my original unit. I'm glad he's got a lot of money to give to Apple.

Perhaps that's the reason why Creative needs the money- they built quality products that didn't require the end user to have to keep replacing them at cost. For a customer satisfaction point of view, that's great. For the sales generating point, perhaps putting out a product that needs replacement is a better idea.

Your mileage may vary of course and this is purely my opinion and observations. If you don't happen to agree with me with the righteous indignation of superiority or the mass loathing and denial of XXX brand player, then your brains may be made of tofu and dental floss. Perhaps lima beans. I'm not sure.

In other words, lighten up! :)
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yawn...
Do you really expect to convince anyone here with your
"anecdotal evidence" post? Here we have some anonymous
individual who calls himself "Vegaman" testifying about his
anonymous friend's experiences with iPods. Yeah, right. Really
convincing post. Obviously, if everyone's experiences with iPods
were as bad as your anonymous firend's, then consumer
dissatisfaction would have caused iPod to lose market share
long time ago. As a counterpoint to your anecdotal evidence, let
me give some anecdotal evidence of my own. I still have my
first-generation iPod and it works great.
Posted by mofo111 (107 comments )
Link Flag
I don't get this
The Patent was filed in January of 2001 for a navigation system involving menus for music.

Apple iTunes 1.0 was out before January 2001. There are knowledge base articles still in their system dating to Febuary and January 2001 indicating iTunes 1.0 and 1.1. So if they extend their own software to a portable device, and use the same system to navigate, which they do (iTunes has not changed much in the way it works since the original), how can anyone say they are violating a patent that was created after iTunes was? Prior art should apply here. The menu, that's an obvious solution, it's been used since the early days of the GUI.
Posted by joepeterson (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Obvious
Not that I'm disagreeing with you, but I would like to point out that what is obvious now may not have been at one time.

That's all folks.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Sour Grapes-- Most Foul...
Creative's accountants sent them, in addition to their disappointing quarterly statement--a bucket of SOUR GRAPES.
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Link Flag
Hi, Zen Xtra owner here . . .
And when I bought my Zen Xtra a couple years ago, a 50GB iPod was $500, whereas a 30GB Zen Xtra was $220. (Yes, I know the prices have come down since, but at the time, the Zen was the better buy, so I went with it.)

Since then, I've dropped it, bumped it, let the battery run down several times, left it floating around the bottom of my A.L.I.C.E. pack, dumped books on top of it, and generally put it through a lot of stuff most people don't.

And, aside from a few small scratches on the screen, it's working just fine. (Mind you, I generally keep it in the case it came with - I don't know how many people do that.)

And frankly, you couldn't pay me to take an iPod. The touch controls are way too sensitive for my liking - I tried using them a few times (one of my friends, Robert "Ghost" Juliano, owns an iPod, and I wound up overscrolling on it several times, plus I couldn't figure out how to search the tracks - or if there even was a track-search function built into the iPod).

I don't have time to deal with that. Give me a nice solid push-button and jog-wheel system any day - much easier to use.
Posted by [RR]Macavity (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Your story sounds touching...
BUT IS SOUNDS LIKE A LIE!
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Link Flag
Can you say PATENT TROLL or SOUR GRAPES
Let me see...poor creative failed to make the ultimate "Ipod Killer." Wah Wah Wah

Even if they win this lawsuit--which they wont--their zen will never be any more successful than it is now. I predict the demise of Creative MP3 by this time next year. It's a shame that the last of their funds will go toward such an untenable lawsuit.

When you can't beat them with a better product--sue em. Creative's new motto.
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So what's Apple's new motto?
"Now with more thermal grease!"
Posted by bourgtai (105 comments )
Link Flag
I'm sorry :(
I'm sorry you bought Creative's unCreative copy of the Ipod. And I know you are sorry too.
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not sorry at all.
The Zen does everything I need it to - play music, store data, and let me control it easily.

Granted, it may not be as flashy as an iPod, but I don't need flash. I need it to do a job, and it does it. I judged the choice based on two criteria:

A) What Does It Do?
B) How Well Does It Do It?

(As a matter of fact, that's how I evaluated pretty much everything I own right now, and I've yet to have a one of them disappoint me. So, I'll stick with what I've got, and get something new only when I really need it.)
Posted by [RR]Macavity (42 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah right.
I know a LIE when I read one.
Posted by phoenix8603 (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
phoenix?
Is there a collection of TROLLS on top of your computer screen? Do you have FLAMES painted on the side of your car?

You just seem like the person who would like TROLLS and FLAMES, in my opinion.
Posted by bourgtai (105 comments )
Link Flag
Creative launches Apple iPod patent challenge
Sim Wong Hoo, chief executive at digital media player firm
Creative, has told the BBC that he plans to " pursue aggressively"
a US patent which it owns on a system used to navigate music
on digital players.

"We will pursue all manufacturers that use the same navigation
system," he said.

Creative was one of the first companies to sell a digital music
player in 2000 but has lost significant market share to Apple's
iPod.

In August, Creative won a patent in the US for the way music
tracks are organised and navigated on a player through a
hierarchical system using three or more screens.

As per ken young


Gerard Rotonda
Posted by gerard rotonda (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Creative launches Apple iPod patent challenge
Sim Wong Hoo, chief executive at digital media player firm
Creative, has told the BBC that he plans to " pursue aggressively"
a US patent which it owns on a system used to navigate music
on digital players.

"We will pursue all manufacturers that use the same navigation
system," he said.

Creative was one of the first companies to sell a digital music
player in 2000 but has lost significant market share to Apple's
iPod.

In August, Creative won a patent in the US for the way music
tracks are organised and navigated on a player through a
hierarchical system using three or more screens.

As per ken young


Gerard Rotonda

Portland, OR
Posted by gerard rotonda (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Creative launches Apple iPod patent challenge
Sim Wong Hoo, chief executive at digital media player firm
Creative, has told the BBC that he plans to " pursue aggressively"
a US patent which it owns on a system used to navigate music
on digital players.

"We will pursue all manufacturers that use the same navigation
system," he said.

Creative was one of the first companies to sell a digital music
player in 2000 but has lost significant market share to Apple's
iPod.

In August, Creative won a patent in the US for the way music
tracks are organised and navigated on a player through a
hierarchical system using three or more screens.

As per ken young


Gerard Rotonda

Portland, OR
Posted by gerard rotonda (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Creative launches Apple iPod patent challenge
Sim Wong Hoo, chief executive at digital media player firm
Creative, has told the BBC that he plans to " pursue aggressively"
a US patent which it owns on a system used to navigate music
on digital players.

"We will pursue all manufacturers that use the same navigation
system," he said.

Creative was one of the first companies to sell a digital music
player in 2000 but has lost significant market share to Apple's
iPod.

In August, Creative won a patent in the US for the way music
tracks are organised and navigated on a player through a
hierarchical system using three or more screens.

As per ken young


Gerard Rotonda

Portland, OR
Posted by gerard rotonda (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Creative launches Apple iPod patent challenge
Creative says it has patent covering iPod technology: Creative
has been awarded what appears to be a stunningly stupid patent
which it will likely use to sue Apple for infringement.

Creative said the patent covers the way music tracks are selected
on a device using a hierarchy of three or more successive
screens. On the iPod, for instance, users can scroll from artists
to albums to songs.

Gerard Rotonda
Posted by gerard rotonda (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Creative launches Apple iPod patent challenge
Creative says it has patent covering iPod technology: Creative
has been awarded what appears to be a stunningly stupid patent
which it will likely use to sue Apple for infringement.

Creative said the patent covers the way music tracks are selected
on a device using a hierarchy of three or more successive
screens. On the iPod, for instance, users can scroll from artists
to albums to songs.

Gerard Rotonda
Posted by gerard rotonda (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vegetable Crisper
Amazing how people don't read the message before putting words in your mouth. Did I call iPod owners stupid as claimed here? Let me scroll back and check...

... nope, I didn't. Maybe I should pretend that I did so that people who don't bother to read will have something to complain about.

Did I mention iTunes online? Hmm....

... nope. Not that one either. Okay, that's two for two by the same person.

I'm not sure why anyone bothers posting anything at all since there are those who will insist on personal attacks as opposed to willing to discuss the subject at hand. It doesn't even matter what the subject it is- knee jerk reactions by... well, jerks.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wrong button! My bad.
This wasn't meant for the general thread, but instead for a troll. I hit the wrong reply button and now wish I could just remove it entirely.

Heh.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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