AAPL Stock: 118.3 ( + 0.49 )

Printed from

Creative sues Apple over iPod interface

updated 04:25 pm EDT, Mon May 15, 2006

Creative sues Apple

Creative has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting that the Commission institute an investigation of whether Apple has violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 through its importation and sale after importation into the United States of iPods and iPod Nanos that infringe U.S. Patent 6,928,433, which Creative refers to as the "Zen Patent." As relief, Creative is seeking an exclusion order and cease and desist order against Apple to prohibit Apple from engaging in sales, marketing, importation or sale after importation into the United States, or other infringing activities in the United States with regard to the infringing iPod and iPod Nano products. Creative also filed a lawsuit today against Apple in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California that seeks an injunction and increased damages for Apple Computer Inc.'s willful infringement of the Zen Patent.

The United States Patent Office issued the Zen Patent to Creative on August 9, 2005 for its invention of the user interface used by most portable digital media players, including many of the Creative Zen and NOMAD Jukebox MP3 players and competing players such as the iPod, iPod Nano and iPod mini.

The company said that engineers at Creative's Scotts Valley, California facility invented the user interface covered by the Zen Patent to address the challenges of convenient organization and access of songs on high-capacity portable digital media players. Creative subsequently implemented its now-patented interface on its NOMAD Jukebox player, which was announced and presented as a functioning prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2000. The user interface covered by the Zen Patent has since been implemented in a variety of Creative players, including its Zen Vision:M.

About Creative's patent

The patent is for an invention that "provides an efficient user interface for a small portable music player. The invention is suitable for use with a limited display area and small number of controls to allow a user to efficiently and intuitively navigate among, and select, songs to be played. By using the invention, very large numbers of songs can be easily accessed and played," according to the filing at the US Patent office.

Specifically, it describes overlapping categories that would allow for selection of the same song via different categories and for multiple functions assigned to the same device button or control. The patent also calls for organization based on metadata associated with each track as well as internet-based sources such as CDDB as well as the now popular playlists for organizing music.

"The creation of playlists is one technique to organize the playing of songs. A set of songs can be included in a playlist which is given a name and stored. When the playlist is accessed, the set of songs can be played utilizing various formats such as sequential play or shuffle," the company wrote its patent filing.

by MacNN Staff




  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You knew it was coming..

    Here we go! Let the lawyers begin!

  1. Albert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    crybaby zen

    'whaaaa, we invented the whaaaa entire food chain of whaaaa ipoodles, whaaaa, and were still going whaaaa, bankrupt, whaaa, whaaaa, so let take a bite of apples success, whaaa, whaaa, whaaaa.'

    is creative even an american company??, they act like suckling infants. They've been attacking apple forever, why don't they at least get a lawsuit with some merit first....

    The reason Creative is going under is because there mp3 players are all terrible designs, why would apple copy such a lame design and have so much success. My friend had one a few years back, dropped it from a table top and it broke. So he next got a real iPod.

    The last gasps of a dyeing company with no leggs left to stand on so now its' sue time, whaaa, whaaa, whaaa...

  1. FastAMX79

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it was..

    a matter of time for this to pop up. So stupid. Creative gets it's a** handed to it by apple, so they need to sue. keep in mind apple has been using the interface since what, the first ipod? i know that came out BEFORE their 2005 patent. would that help apple??

  1. Monde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Can't beat em fair then.

    This type of c*** is what drives up the price of things for us all. A pox on Creative and all the other patent chasers, whom a day's hard work would kill.

  1. acadian

    Joined: Dec 1969


    they may have been...

    using the interface since before 05 but Creative managed to get it patented before Apple did.

  1. willdaddy



    @ acadian

    not backing creative, but read the whole article before commenting next time. the patent is in reference to the first nomad juke box introduced at CES 2000. the patent was issued in '05

    as far as the validity, I would imagine that either the patent is too broad or that there were previous works that would nullify the patent.

  1. Rezzz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Patently profit

    This screams of "We lost the market and want to make money the only way we have left". Good luck, Creative. You'd have better luck if the suit was filed from France.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    One last try before filing for bankruptcy! Pathetic. At least RIO did it with style. They just left. These idiots need one last humiliating beating it seems.

  1. chas_m




    A sad end to a loser company.

  1. bsnoel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm betting...

    I'm betting that just about any judge is going to take one look and TOSS this one out.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented