Creative gets new patent, sues Apple

Creative Technology, a maker of portable music players, has accused Apple Computer of violating a newly granted software patent covering the way users navigate music selections.

Creative Technology, which is based in Singapore and has United States operations in Milpitas, Calif., said it would consider every option available to defend the patent, including possible legal action. Apple declined to comment on the patent.

The patent, which the company calls the Zen Patent, covers Creative’s interface for portable players, which allows users to select a song, album or track by navigating a succession of menus. The patent office awarded the patent on Aug. 9.

Creative uses the navigation technology on many of its portable music devices, which account for 3.3 percent of the market, according to the NPD Group. The iPod, which in large part owes its popularity to its easy-to-use navigation system, has about 74 percent of the American market.

Craig McHugh, president of Creative’s United States operations, said on Wednesday that Apple was the only company that Creative had identified so far that was in violation of the patent, though Creative was investigating others.

“We are looking at all our alternatives right now,” he said. “We have always been very vigorous in our defense of our patent portfolio.”

“Navigating a succession of menus.” Who the hell would grant a patent on that? Oh yeah…

I hate to say it but I’d love to see the market equalized a bit more. This should help.

How?

Yeah, I’m not sure how this will really help anything. And holy fuck, you can patent anything, apparently.

It won’t help anything, particularly when it helps a company known for litigating it’s way through markets (RIP Aureal).

I can’t imagine the suit has much merit.

Are pocket / palmtop PCs considered portable players?