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Apple settles iTunes lawsuit

updated 11:25 am EDT, Fri September 1, 2006

iTunes lawsuit settled

Apple has settled a lawsuit that claims it used designs from another company for its iTunes application. David Contois, owner of Contois Music & Technology, was seeking an injunction against the iTunes Music Store along with unspecified damages and legal fees, saying that Apple took the design of iTunes from his own software. Contois claims he received his patent in 1999, two years before Apple's popular iTunes Music Store launched to the masses. Contois alleged that Apple's "current or future employees" viewed his patented software at the several trade shows, and later duplicated it. Contois formally notified Apple of the patent in September of 2004, but says that Apple knew about the patent as early as January 2003. He filed his lawsuit in June of 2005; in June, both sides were arguing over terminology.

"Apple has copied the invention," according to the lawsuit. "Apple's infringement has been and continues to be willful." The suit also claimed that Contois exhibited his software to play music on a computer at industry trade shows in 1995 and 1996 in Nevada as well as California.

Macworld UK reports that the terms of the agreement were confidential: "We're glad to get back to teaching music and selling musical instruments. The terms are confidential. We can't discuss them," Dan Contois, the brother of David Contois told the publication.

by MacNN Staff



  1. appleisgreat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Get on the gravy train!

    It seems like every two bit company is suing Apple for something. Most of these companies produce products that people either don't know about or, don't do well in the market. So, they sue Apple to recuperate their lost profits because they're not good at producing products and services that people actually want to buy. I think Apple should tell them all to just piss off.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: gravy train

    That's right! Why should anyone whose got ideas but no way of implementing them actually be allowed to profit from them?

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They won't say too much about this, but I know one thing...

    ...this guy is going to have a very Merry Christmas this year!

  1. discotronic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: gravy train

    Give me a break. If Apple is guilty they should pay up. Big companies can afford to infringe because they have the money to back it up. If they didn't do what they where accused of that is one thing. But it is obvious they did it on purpose.

    It's cheaper to do wrong and pay up later. Apple and tons of other companies have proved it time and again.

  1. porieux

    Joined: Dec 1969


    as a shareholder i object

    As a shareholder I object to paying ANYTHING to these idiots making baseless claims against Apple. Not happy about this at all..

  1. chas_m



    Problem is ...

    you don't know that there's "baseless," porieux.

    Neither do I, for that matter.

    We're all just pointlessly speculating. We don't know all the facts. Given Apple's track record of being quite aggressive about infringement, I have to assume that the settlement (which could be $1 or a million dollars for all we know) was decided upon as being one of two things: 1. Rightful compensation for mistakes made by Apple, or 2. A payoff to people who had just enough of a case to make it to court, and therefore this was less expensive than litigating.

    Given Apple's track record on these matters, I'm confident they did the best/most expedient thing under the circumstances.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    good guy, bad guy...

    As often, people are looking at this as good guy - bad guy situation. Think about it for a moment. This person thought of something, wrote a piece of software and then, probably, after advice of an enthusiastic lawyer friend who totally loved his idea, went ahead and patented. He probably tried to market it himself and had little success. He then sees Apple come out with iTMS with a huge splash, only to get bigger and bigger. He sees exactly his idea. Now, it doesn't matter if Apple's engineers actually saw his software at trade shows, or they came up with the same idea on their own (possible); he was annoyed that someone else got so much business with the same basic idea.

    If you look at the timeline, it took him quite a while to decide to pursue this, and even then some more to finally sue. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss this guy as one of those patent trawlers that go around, buy other people's patents and wait for someone to come up with the same idea, and then sue them.

  1. jameshays

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What was copied here? was it the layout of the app? That hardly is an invention. Did he invent the ability to play music on a computer? I don't think so. Help me understand, I don't see what was invented here.

  1. technocoy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    just as bad as the others

    "it is obvious they did it on purpose"

    you are just as bad as the other people... you have same amount of information as anyone else...

    don't jump to conclusions... just because they paid up doesn't implicate them...

    many people have similar ideas at the same time. It could be that the guy really does have the patent, apple had simlar ideas, implemented them and then when this guys show up they saw how they were indeed simlar and decided, hey instead of a costly lawsuit where we will plainly lose (because they DID infringe, even if it wasn't intentional) they pay the dude a few million, and both parties win.

    there is willful infringement and then there is accidental infringement or coincidental infringement.... whether it was accidental or on purpose, at least apple did the right thing when they saw they were wrong and paid the dude.

    people are influenced by other all the time. NO art is completely created in a vacuum. and NO art is entireley original. period.

  1. discotronic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: bad as others

    Just look at the original article.

    They look guilty to me because they are trying to define what exactly is meant by "stealing".

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