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Creative sues Apple for patent infringement

Posted: 18 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Spencer Chin? Creative Technology? Apple? iPod? Zen patent?

Creative Technology Ltd filed a lawsuit against Apple Computer Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for allegedly infringing a Creative patent governing the user interface in portable media players (PMPs), including those used in Apple's iPod, iPod Nano and iPod Mini.

Creative also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting an investigation of whether Apple has violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, through the importation and sale of iPods and iPod Nanos that infringed the patent. The patent, designated U.S. Patent 6,928,433, referred as the Zen patent was issued on Aug. 9, 2005. The patent is the basis for the interface used in a number of Creative's MP3 players, such as the Zen Micro as well as competing players, including the iPod.

As relief, Creative is also seeking to prohibit Apple from selling and importing iPod and iPod Nano products into the United States.

The suit brings to the fore increasing pressures Creative and other companies face in a portable media market Apple dominates. Market analysts estimate Creative has a 3 percent share of the PMP market.

In its most recent quarter, Creative posted a $114.3 million loss, which the company said doubled the $55 million to $65 million shortfall expected in its April guidance. Creative blamed the huge loss on falling memory prices, though the company expressed hope the trend would also cut into Apple's ability to undercut its competitors on volume purchase agreements.

Apple did not comment by press time.

- Spencer Chin
EE Times




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