updated 10:30 am EDT, Tue August 30, 2005
Creative MP3 UI patent
Apple may be faced with another patent struggle following news that Creative Technology has won the patent for a on an iPod-like interface prevented Apple from receiving its own iPod interface patent. Creative's "Zen Patent" (US Patent 6,928,433) "was awarded to Creative for its invention of the user interface for portable media players, including many of the Creative Zen and Nomad Jukebox MP3 players", the company says. The Zen Patent covers the user interface that enables users of portable media players to "efficiently and intuitively navigate among and select tracks on the players," the company explains. Creative applied for the Zen Patent on January 5, 2001 and it was awarded on August 9, 2005.
Creative says its invention enables selection of a track in a portable media player as a user "sequentially navigates through a hierarchy using three or more successive screens on the display of the player".
One example of this could be the sequence of screens that could display artists, then albums, and then tracks, explains Macworld UK.
"The user interface covered by the Zen Patent was invented by Creative research and development engineers in our Advanced Technology Center in Scotts Valley, California," said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO of Creative.
"The first portable media player based upon the user interface covered in our Zen Patent was our Nomad Jukebox MP3 player. We shipped the NOMAD Jukebox to US retail customers in September 2000, and by November 2000, it was already ranked as the top revenue-generating product in the US in the digital audio player category, according to PC Data. By January of 2001, we announced that we had already sold 100,000 NOMAD Jukeboxes. The Apple iPod was only announced in October 2001, 13 months after we had been shipping the NOMAD Jukebox based upon the user interface covered by our Zen Patent."