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Apple, Creative open to settlement

updated 01:30 am EDT, Thu July 6, 2006

iPod lawsuits settlement?

Apple and Creative may be open to a settlement, following iPod-related lawsuits filed by each company in recent months. Recent court filings indicate that both parties "remain open to the possibility" of ending their copyright and patent litigation battles over handheld music players. On July 3, both companies said they were in negotiations involving the licensing of Creative's patent to Apple before the lawsuit was filed and that both were still "open" to reaching an agreement. Although "the parties will remain open to the possibility of settlement," the filing indicates that no specific settlement discussions are planned, according to Bloomberg, which obtained the joint report to the judge. Creative claims that Apple turned to the company first in 2001 in hopes to either license Creative's technology or jointly invest in a new company that would further develop Creative's MP3 player products, but that Creative declined proposals by Apple--which went on to introduce the first iPod later that same year.

The ongoing legal battle stems from a US patent awarded to Creative last year. In August of 2005, Creative received a patent for a user interface for digital music players: 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."

In early May, Creative filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission over the sale of iPods and iPod nanos in the US, which it says infringe on its "Zen Patent". In addition, Creative filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction and damages for willful infringement. The same day, Apple countersued alleging that Creative has infringed on four of Apple's patents and also filed a second lawsuit alleging that Creative is infringing on three other Apple patents relating to using icons, and displaying and editing data.

by MacNN Staff



  1. chulitomio

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It began as a way to reward creativity, and FOSTER competition. Really. In order to truely understand why what we now have is a gross perversion of its intent, see Sandra Day O'Connor's work on and explanation of the purpose of patent law and the role legal remedy is actually supposed to play in disputes.

    Now, it's a race to be granted the most patents covering the most ideas, written by the lawyer who exhibits the most skill at making said patents specific enough to be granted, while still being vague enough to be used to sue anyone out of creating anything even vaguely similar, or for future blackmail.

    So, when do we stop perpetuating the idea that accounts such as this one of corporations abusing patents as a way to stifle competition now, or later as a means of extortion, and the ensuing amoral fights of the greedy, as 'news', and instead call it what it is.

    Then perhaps we can turn some attention to the real issue - what the original purpose of patents was, and why and how people like corporate lobbyists and patent officers who award patents for things that shouldn't get them have twisted that purpose.

    Many people not involved in the patent extortion business know, discuss, and are revolted by it - my point is not that it's a secret. The issue is the fact that we are content to watch these corporate equivalents of dog fights, and maybe root for whichever savage dog our bet is on, or comment about how wrong it is, instead of demanding that the distortion of patent law into a tool of nauseating avarice stop now, and that it be returned it to its original intent.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I couldn't have said it better myself. No really, I couldn't have. I agree 100%!

    In the meantime, since I think Creative fired the first shot in this particular battle, I hope Apple buries them! :-)

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