AfterDawn: Tech news

Creative Technologies sued Apple for patent infringement

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 16 May 2006 20:40 User comments (27)

Creative Technologies sued Apple for patent infringement Creative Technologies Inc. has sued Apple Computer Inc. in the U.S. District Court in California for infringing its patented technology. The suit demands an injunction to stop Apple from selling it's iPod and iPod Nano MP3 players in the United States. Additionally, Creative has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking the injunction. The company is accusing Apple of infringing on a patent that was awarded to Creative last August.
The patent in question covers the Zen player's user interface. Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo had vowed late last year to "aggressively pursue" companies that infringe Creative's key patent. Apple's iPod player holds around three quarters of the MP3 player market so it's understandable that Creative wants to get a cut. Creative has tried to steal some of Apple's share of the market, releasing players like the Vision:M to take on the iPod video player head on.

Creative is not the first company to complain that Apple's iPod players infringe their technology. Pat-rights, a Hong Kong company, claims that Apple's FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology infringes its intellectual property. Also Contois Music & Technology claims that Apple uses its patented technology for the iTunes interface.


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27 user comments

116.5.2006 22:28

this is stupid creative labs is just going after apple because there stupid lame mp3 players that have the most smallest space and the most expensive price cant compete with the ipod creative labs get a %$%^%$%^% life you stupid little &&^^^^%%^&^&% think about this you could purchase a creative labs player for 400.00 for a 4 gig model or 700.00 for a 30gig model when ipods are only 149.99 funny huh

216.5.2006 22:53

Is it just me, but does it seem as though every major corporation just rips off another corporations idea?

316.5.2006 23:54

"this is stupid creative labs is just going after apple because there stupid lame mp3 players that have the most smallest space and the most expensive price cant compete with the ipod"- I'll admit i have a bad memory, but i seem to remember the last model Creative released was actually pretty sexy; that and im not a fan of apple( but iPods are nice). "Is it just me, but does it seem as though every major corporation just rips off another corporations idea?"- Seems sort of ironic its apple ripping someone else off and not the other way around.( cough Windows cough). But hey, glad Mr. Gates did it so i wouldnt have to sell my soul to purchase an apple.

417.5.2006 4:25

It's the American Way. When a company has a successful product, other companies will sue to try and get a piece of the action (and the lawyers need to keep up their posh lifestyle, eh?) I'm sure Creative Computing knows they won't stop Apple from making iPods. They're just fishing for a settlement of a couple hundred million, that's all.

517.5.2006 4:28

I should say Creative Technologies... Creative Computing was a computer magazine back in the "good old days" of computers. Just showing my age I guess.

617.5.2006 4:46

"you could purchase a creative labs player for 400.00 for a 4 gig model or 700.00 for a 30gig model" Have you ever priced a creative product before?? nothing they have is 700. When i bought my zen jukebox it was the same price as an ipod mini. but instead of getting 5 gigs of space, i got 60.. thats right, now why dont you try to figure out those numbers son. Creative products are better. I have used both extensively. I know what I'm talking about. I would not put it past apple to make a technology without checking if it infringes any other patents, so if thats true, creative is in the right.

717.5.2006 14:49

I personally own a RCA Lyra and am very happy with it. 20 GB capacity and all the extras for less than $250!!! (Actually got it on clearance for $150, with car charger, AC adaptor, and a carrying case and tape deck adaptor because the new version was getting ready to debut!!!) My son bought the Creative Zen 20GB with backlit full color display for $229!!! i-pods don't even come close to this price range except for the 4 or 6 GB version. Also the RCA and Creative work directly with drag and drop with JPEG's and MP3's. The i-pods formats have to be reconverted to i-tunes and once I've already converted, the last thing I want to do is have to go back and redo all of my music just for the i-pod. I know people who swear by them so I am not knocking the i-pod itself, just the sure fact that you are paying for the name more than anything else. Creative players have came a long way and if someone offered to give me the one of my choice, I'd definately go with the Creative one. Everyone has different taste, so this is my flavor on the subject!!! LOL!!!

817.5.2006 14:58

This is NOT about Creative and Apple, it's about an idiotic, busted patent system. Creative's patent is a bad joke, BUT, it was granted by the puss brains at the patent office so it's up to Creative to either try to enforce it or loose it. A person might as well patent a "system" for getting one's hands wet by immersing them in water. Oh, and I'd like to respectfully request that you fanboys PUT A LID ON IT. I'm not sayin' you're morans, but these "brand X is so cool and brand Y is totally lame" comments make you sound like one...

917.5.2006 16:10

While yes Creative has better MP3 products than Apple's iPod and Creative should go after Apple, it will still be mute point because Creative does NOT advertise. Advertising is what helped (I'd say 90%)make iPod a success. ....ignorant mom and dad sitting at home wondering what to buy littlebadass johnny and dittzy jane, see dancing idiots on tv and the light bulb starts to flicker...

1017.5.2006 18:17

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Creative the first company to make an Mp3 player? I think it was the Nomad Jukebox or something like that. I remember it being a rather bulky device that held (at the time) an unusually large number of songs. If Apple has infringed upon this patent, then they need to respect Creative for being the innovator that they are. If it wasnít creative who pioneered the portability of the Mp3, Iím pretty sure that it wasnít Apple. Apple is the number one seller because of advertising. Iím tired of all the bandwagon schmoes who jump on something just because they saw it on TV. Just because Apple chooses to advertise and Creative doesnít, that does not make their product superior. I personally own a 5GB Zen Micro and have nothing but good things to say about it. I am able to put any of my Mp3's (ripped and downloaded) on the device (VBR and standard) and have yet to encounter a playability issue. I can even store data on the drive along side of the music. Plus, Iíve got to admit; anything that supports a direct drag and drop interface through Windows Explorer is fine with me. I've even dropped the unit a couple of times and it still plays like a champ. Now, the Zen Micro is not as small as the iPod Nano, but it sits in my shirt pocket all day at work. Unlike other things, size does not matter. Just about all of the dedicated Mp3 players that I've seen are pretty small and will fit in your pocket comfortably along side your wallet and some pocket lint with room to spare. I have to disagree with the post about Creative devices being expensive. I spent $200 for my Zen from Best Buy with a two year warranty. At the time of purchase, the most expensive Creative unit was their Media Center thing (donít remember the name) selling for right around $400 or so. As far as capacity, as long as I can put 8 to 10 hours of music and listen to said music without the batteries dying, I'm cool with that. I'm not sure how long it would take me to listen to 60GB of music. I've no problem with syncing up some new play lists every night. I can't tell you on Monday what I might feel like listening to on Friday. Well, I think Iíve rambled on long enough. Back to the main point: If Apple stole something from Creative; they need to face the consequences.

1117.5.2006 18:17

rosedog, Excelent point !!! Advertisement is the key to wealth in any industry. GrayArea, Your right about the patent issues. I've gone after 4 or 5 patents in the last couple of years and been shot down with ideas for new products to find out that they have already been taken, but I have yet to see any of my ideas on the market. That may go back to the advertisement issue.

"...Just another brick in the wall" -Pink Floyd.
Please, don't become another "Brick!!!"
You have a brain, use it!!!

1218.5.2006 11:56

Advertisement does help a lot when it comes to selling your goods, but at the same time it's so expensive that the prices go up and the consumer pays. I remember reading a gaming article about where your $50 goes. I don't know the exact number but well over half goes to marketing, same with music CDs. I don't own an IPOD so I don't know how difficult or easy it can be to transfer music. I bought a 30gig Nomad Jukebox for my brother, who just happens to be totally computer retarded, and he has no issues with setting up playlists or uploading files. I think user friendliness is a big plus because he doesn't even know how to make MP3's to begin with. Because of the Nomad he felt confident enough to buy another smaller MP3 player (that new Sony with the organic display) for work. I think if he woulda started out with an IPOD like he wanted originally he'd end up throwing it against the wall because he's not one to shop for music on iTunes nor will he & I ever.

1318.5.2006 19:31

"this is stupid creative labs is just going after apple because there stupid lame mp3 players that have the most smallest space and the most expensive price cant compete with the ipod" WTF are you smoking johnodd. have you ever even seen any of creative's products? I have a 30gb creative labs nomad jukebox. I've had it for about 2 years, when I bought it. It was $220 dollars, that's including tax. 100 bucks less than the 20gb Ipod. I get 10 more gb's for 100 bucks less. Creative's products play way more audio formats than apple's ipod. I can connect and play to any windows plug and play hardware. windows media player has a easy to use media sniffer and information updater. I have never caught on why people prefer the ipod, if they would just do some research they would realize that you are being severly restriced in what file formats you can play. what music you can put onto a cd or share with friends. ok so the ipod is so small you have to search 3 hours for it before you can use it. oh and the touch pad. is that why it's so cool? sorry I'd rather get more use out of something that costs 200 - 400 bucks. call me crazy.

1419.5.2006 0:01

Well I hope Apple Burnes on this one, seeing as how the ever popular touch pad on the iPod was infact an idea stolen from Creative.

1519.5.2006 6:59

Hopefully all this will fet straihgtened out fast because the if the courts get involved with the lawyers and a settlement can't be reached, the price of ALL MP3 type players/recorders will go up and we, the consumers, are the ones going to get stuck with the bill!!!

1619.5.2006 19:05

Sheesh. If you want to sell a product make a better one instead of suing someone who already has. Ban all law schools. Convert them to technology colleges.

1720.5.2006 1:59

Well it's ANOTHER good day for the Lawyers and as always THEY are the winners EVERY time. May they all rot in their SPECIAL HELL reserved for all scum sucking leeches..:)

1820.5.2006 3:30

Hi, This is a terrific forum on this topic. My ~2-yo MUVO MP3 Player Model TX FM has been very fine and performed flawlessly. Creative made an intuitive interface based on w/PC conventions. For us Gates-invaded minds it is SO much more natural than Apple-thought. Any hoo w/.5GB, FM, voice and FM recording capability, it is just too much more than the neck-dangling Nano. Removeable bat, a benny not a negative, this baby is wonerful. I paid $130 ~ 2 years ago. I'm going back to Creative to see what they offer in the disk-based player niche. But sight unseen I bet it bests iPod, which I have the 20-GB via gift, and which I nearly flung it many times trying to figure out that interface, which is "supposed" to be "oh, oh, soooo" intuitive. Maybe if you have been under a rock for last 20 years. But for a guys like me it sucks to learn it. Having said all that I find the itunes a big help over the original tune-managing freak show software provided for it. However, iPod is so focused on "getting more" of your $$ that even iTunes and its attendant help docs are slanted to get you to the itunes store buying restrictive song copies, one dear tune at a time. Again this is a great forum. Thanks, JP

1920.5.2006 7:24

I have yet to come across something that beats my Pionner 8-Track player...LOL

2020.5.2006 10:04

The only problem is you can't buy 8-tracks anymore!!! LOL!!!

2121.5.2006 8:59

I own a 60gb ipood. It does everything "I" want it to do. I have had others that dont even compare. Apple is actually a good company that makes solid products. They just rape people on prices because they can. Technologies have been stolen from different companies as far back as the wheel. Its how we grow technologically. This happens everyday but most of the time no one even hears or cares about it. Just that everyone hates apple and is picking on them because they got caught. Oh well... Im still going to buy the new macbook pro. xp and OS X all in one. Now thats what im talkin 'bout!!!

2226.5.2006 4:28

Where can I find a comparison of this interface (zen player and Ipod) that is infringing the patent of creative. I just want to take a closer look at the interfaces of the zen player and ipod to see the similarity.

2326.5.2006 6:25

Rasen: I would got to several store based web sites and look up the info. That is what I did before I came to any conculsions and decided to purchace the Creative over the i-pod. The i-pod is nice, but pricey. The features are very similar and in certain formats the i-pod holds more music but you have to convert the music over to i-tunes to play them on i-pod. Creative products you just drop and drag MP3's and it "Profiles" them automatically keeping them in MP3 format. There are advantages to both, to each his own but it comes down to someone wanting someone else's money and Apple has money!!! LOL!!!

"...Just another brick in the wall" -Pink Floyd.
Please, don't become another "Brick!!!"
You have a brain, use it!!!

2426.5.2006 11:26

Give me an IRiver anytime

2527.5.2006 20:01

@flyingv There are Third Party Software for Ipod that eliminates the need for the ITunes interface. You can drag and drop files just like you do in any computer. I have an Ipod myself (and the Pioneer 8-Track LOL) and that's what I use. About the pricing...Creative offers the best "bang for the buck". Still, I went Ipod because I love AAC and for a very practical reason. I bought it used from a friend. He's the kind of person who has to possess the latest thing. So for $150 I bought a 60 GB Ipod Photo with only 7 months of use because he wanted to buy the Ipod Video.

2627.5.2006 20:43

hermes_vb: I wasn't aware of this. Thanks for that info. Also it sonuds like you got a good deal but don't let the SMF's like MPAA find out!!! Big brother IS watching you!!!

2728.5.2006 21:03

Sorry, I'm new, but I wanted to reply to a message posted awhile back. Creative's 30 gig does not coast $700. I bought one from the seventh circle of hell a.k.a Wal-mart for $240. Creative does actually offer a $700 player but instead of 30 it is 100 gig. But if no one believes me you can buy my 20 gig creative for $400. It's is still apparently a good deal.

Peace Sells,.... but who's buyin'

R.I.P DEC. 9, 2004

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