Creative sues Apple for patent infringement


— 3:01 AM on May 17, 2006

In the wake of Rambus' latest victory in a round of patent infringement lawsuits against major memory industry players, Creative has decided to bring the patent infringement game to the music player industry. The company has filed patent complaints and an infringement lawsuit against Apple for alleged breaching US Patent 6,928,433, otherwise known as the "Zen Patent," after Creative's music player. The patent covers hierarchical sorting of music in portable music players, and its summary reads:

A method, performed by software executing on the processor of a portable music playback device, that automatically files tracks according to hierarchical structure of categories to organize tracks in a logical order. A user interface is utilized to change the hierarchy, view track names, and select tracks for playback or other operations.
This patent was only issued to Creative on August 9, 2005, but it was filed on January 5, 2001, several months before the release of Apple's first music player. Creative says the iPod represents a "willful infringement of the Zen patent," and the company is seeking a cease and desist order that would prohibit the sale of iPods in the United States. An all-out iPod ban may not happen, but Creative could instead obtain a juicy settlement and potential licensing fees, which could help its recent financial woes. Two weeks ago, Creative announced record losses of $114.3 million for the third fiscal quarter after a 32% drop in sales from the same time period last year.
 
   
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