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Creative seeks injunction against Apple

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
Creative Technology on Monday filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking an injunction against Apple Computer that would prohibit the company from importing its iPods, which are manufactured overseas, into the United States.

In the filing, the Apple rival requests an investigation into whether the iPod maker has violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing iPods into the US that allegedly infringe on Creative's digital music player patent (No. 6,928,433), referred to as the "Zen Patent."

Apple's iPods are designed at the company's Cupertino, Calif.-based design studios but manufactured at facilities in the Far East. Under Section 337 of Tariff Act of 1930, imported products that allegedly violate United States intellectual property rights can be barred from entry into the country.

Creative is seeking an exclusion order and cease and desist order against Apple, prohibiting it from engaging in the sale, marketing, importation or sale after importation of its flagship iPod and iPod nano players.

Also Monday, the company filed a lawsuit against Apple in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California seeking an injunction and increased damages for the iPod maker's "willful infringement of the Zen Patent."

The Zen Patent, which was awarded to Creative on August 9, 2005, is for the invention of the software interface used by the company in its Zen and NOMAD Jukebox MP3 players. Creative charges that Apple has used the same interface for its iPod, iPod nano and iPod mini players.
post #2 of 76
Sounds like another repeat of Apple vs. Apple (Beatles vs. Apple Computer)....whenever Apple is at the top of the game, a bunch of petty idiots try to leach off of their success.

Of course, we all know that the outcome will again be favorable for Apple.

Also, the interface Creative uses is NOTHING like the one Apple uses, unless I am missing something?
post #3 of 76
I don't know whether ALL software patents are bad, but some sure are.

If Apple's violating a nonsense Patent, they can still be hurt by it. Forced to ship those iPods back, program a new UI, and face a sales void until the revised models can ship.

So hopefully they're not violating the patent!

PS, the iPod interface works exactly like the OS X Column view. Which in turn is based on the NeXT column view.
post #4 of 76
Why are they even bothering? Do they honestly think they're going to get Apple to stop selling iPods in the United States? \

Apple would probably sooner buy out Creative and drop their entire product line than stop selling iPods as-is.
post #5 of 76
This begs for additional details. Based solely on the information in this article, this complaint has absolutely no merit. There's a little thing known as "prior work". The iPod interface hasn't changed all that much since its initial 1st generation release and I'm pretty sure that it came well before the Creative Zen.
post #6 of 76
Ridiculous!
post #7 of 76
Wow...talk about sour grapes! The iPod blows away the Zen in the market place, so Creative sues Apple for supposedly using the same UI? So that means to say that the only reason everyone bought an iPod instead of a Zen was the interface....riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!
post #8 of 76
Don't be too quick, here!

This was a question ever since this patent was granted. Apple had plenty of time to file to overthrow the patent, if they wanted to, and had they considered it to be invalid. Creative had originally said that they wouldn't use the patent against their competitors, but things change.

I haven't delved into it, so I don't know how this really affects Apple, or how valid it really is.

But, don't assume that apple will win. Look at the RIM case. Even though the patents are being ruled invalid, they still paid $650 million out, and entered into an agreement.

That case has encouraged Creative to do this, as it has been said that it would have a chilling affect on those being sued, and threatened with an injunction.
post #9 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by macbear01
The iPod interface hasn't changed all that much since its initial 1st generation release and I'm pretty sure that it came well before the Creative Zen.

I BELIEVE that the Creative Nomad predated the iPod, and had a vaguely similar UI. Calling it the "Zen Patent" might be just to get the name Zen in the press

Someone correct me if my memory has failed me.
post #10 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by mikehackman
a bunch of petty idiots try to leach off of their success.

Quote:
Originally posted by pairof9s
Wow...talk about sour grapes!

Whilst I really don't like patents, one has to deal with the fact that they exist.

Apple tried to patent the iPod interface, but they failed because Creative had patented that idea/design/whatever already. So, it would seem, Creative do actually have a leg to stand on, and this cannot be dismissed as "sour grapes" or Creative being "petty idiots".

Edit: oops, sorry, I was wrong. Creative do have a case of sour grapes, are petty idiots, and don't have a leg to stand on.

Actually, Apple failed to patent the iPod interface because Microsoft got there first! (see here and here). I don't know where Creative think they are coming from with this.
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post #11 of 76
Creative have also had a lot of time to file this complaint.
post #12 of 76
It's interesting they're using the ITC. An ITC investigation and resolution can happen much faster than a federal patent case. Most ITC cases are completely resolved in 18 months or so. However, the ITC actions are often not applicable to products that are substantially designed and created within the United States, no matter where they're being manufactured, so that will probably be Apple's first line of defense.

Another factor in the ITC investigation, is that losing in an ITC action does not invalidate the patent. You can lose an ITC complaint then turn around and sue again in federal court.

ITC actions can also trigger USPTO internal investigations of the patents, and the USPTO could choose to invalidate a patent without any action taken by Apple.

Considering the iPod's UI is derivative of the NeXT UI from the 1980's, I doubt Creative is going to get very far in the long run, but they may be able to induce some sort of settlement.
post #13 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by nagromme
I BELIEVE that the Creative Nomad predated the iPod, and had a vaguely similar UI. Calling it the "Zen Patent" might be just to get the name Zen in the press

Someone correct me if my memory has failed me.

I don't know which Nomad model this is supposed to be taken from, as the joke was that Creative didn't use the technologies in its patent application until a year AFTER the iPod first came out.

My Nomad II, which I still have, but haven't used in years, is a beautiful little device, but the menuing (is that a word?) system is way behind that in the iPod.

One reason why the iPod took off was because its screen and menus were so far ahead of anything else on the market.
post #14 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
Actually, Apple failed to patent the iPod interface because Microsoft got there first! (see here and here). I don't know where Creative think they are coming from with this.

I'm pretty sure the "Zen Patent" was filed before Microsoft as well.
post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
Whilst I really don't like patents, one has to deal with the fact that they exist.

Apple tried to patent the iPod interface, but they failed because Creative had patented that idea/design/whatever already. So, it would seem, Creative do actually have a leg to stand on, and this cannot be dismissed as "sour grapes" or Creative being "petty idiots".

Edit: oops, sorry, I was wrong. Creative do have a case of sour grapes, are petty idiots, and don't have a leg to stand on.

Actually, Apple failed to patent the iPod interface because Microsoft got there first! (see here and here). I don't know where Creative think they are coming from with this.

There are a lot entries in Google about the Creative patent and its dangers for Apple.

http://www.macobserver.com/article/2005/09/01.7.shtml

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl....DTL&type=tech
post #16 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
There are a lot entries in Google about the Creative patent and its dangers for Apple.

http://www.macobserver.com/article/2005/09/01.7.shtml

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl....DTL&type=tech

Hmmm, I thought I remembered something about Creative patents relating to the iPod. Looks like I was mixing my recollections.

Apple tried to patent the interface, but were told they couldn't because of a Microsoft patent, but Creative has a patent that predates the Microsoft one. So, if the Creative patent has patented the same thing that the Microsoft patent does (an interface like the one the iPod uses), how did Microsoft manage to get their patent granted in the first place?
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post #17 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by nagromme
I BELIEVE that the Creative Nomad predated the iPod, and had a vaguely similar UI. Calling it the "Zen Patent" might be just to get the name Zen in the press

Someone correct me if my memory has failed me.

It's true that the Nomad was released in January 2000 and the iPod in October 2001 - almost 2 years later. However, I can't find any graphics to verify what the UI looked like back in 2000. Prior work still applies and could damage Creative's position if Apple can point to the NeXT OS and column view in OS X, saying that's what the iPod UI is based on.
post #18 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
Hmmm, I thought I remembered something about Creative patents relating to the iPod. Looks like I was mixing my recollections.

Apple tried to patent the interface, but were told they couldn't because of a Microsoft patent, but Creative has a patent that predates the Microsoft one. So, if the Creative patent has patented the same thing that the Microsoft patent does (an interface like the one the iPod uses), how did Microsoft manage to get their patent granted in the first place?

Patents can be slightly different, and still be valid. We don't know how they did this in software.

The rule is; patent quickly, and patent often.
post #19 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by macbear01
It's true that the Nomad was released in January 2000 and the iPod in October 2001 - almost 2 years later. However, I can't find any graphics to verify what the UI looked like back in 2000. Prior work still applies and could damage Creative's position if Apple can point to the NeXT OS and column view in OS X, saying that's what the iPod UI is based on.

I remember them. As I said, I have the Nomad II, and it loks nothing like the iPod interface, nor does it work the same way.

The interface for the Creative Jukebox was a bit better, but I remember it as being more primitive than the iPods, as I had considered buying it instead of the Nomad II. But, it was too big and clumsy.

I bought my Nomad at a Macworld in Boston.
post #20 of 76
doesn't really matter since Creative market Cap is 460m$, and Apple has 8b$ in cash, Apple can buy them and their moronic Patent
post #21 of 76
seriously this patent crap needs to be fixed. the system is completely flawed.
post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Elixir
seriously this patent crap needs to be fixed. the system is completely flawed.

Ditto. They should just be scrapped completely. The argument was won with software patents that they are basically a bad idea. They seem to just be another way for lawyers to make loads of money, whilst providing no actual benefit to the general public.

They are not required to protect a company's investment in a product (Apple have not managed to patent the iPod, but its doing alright for them), and serve to stifle innovation.
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post #23 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Odedh
doesn't really matter since Creative market Cap is 460m$, and Apple has 8b$ in cash, Apple can buy them and their moronic Patent

That's very funny!
post #24 of 76
Apple do have a case as has been previously said the UI is based on column view in neXT OS. Also it's very difficult to patent the idea of scrolling down a list and building a system of hierarchies. Mobile phones use the same idea- Nokia have used a similar interface for years. Although obviously Zen have some sort of a case but whatever comes of this there is no doubt in my mind that this will set the precedent for software patents for years to come. Still it doesn't really seem realistic that the iPod- something of such cultural value- should be taken off the shelves- does it??

BENj

PS
Does anyone know if a Interim Injunction could also be filed in order to cease Apple from importing iPods during the case. I know this is the case with UK law but I'm not really familiar with US law? Anyone help me out?
post #25 of 76
Creative is quite desperate. I understand they lost a boatload of money last year. Bad luck, ya leeches.

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post #26 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by nagromme
I BELIEVE that the Creative Nomad predated the iPod, and had a vaguely similar UI. Calling it the "Zen Patent" might be just to get the name Zen in the press

Someone correct me if my memory has failed me.

hit the nail on the head,
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post #27 of 76
Given the absurd way the NTP vs RIM patent tussle turned out, who knows what will happen.

However, I'm pretty sure Apple Legal would have been preparing for this from when the "Zen Patent" was (erroneously?) issued last year, as there must be a mountain of prior art.

Most mobile phones use a up/down scrolling menu, an item of which is clicked to go to the next deeper menu. That's been the case since the late 80s. The only difference is the horizontal side-to-side nature of the iPod's menu system.

But side-to-side hierarchical interfaces are nothing new. In fact, the diagrams of prospective Lisa interfaces dating from the late 1970s show a very similar arrangement.



The only difference is being on a smaller display.
post #28 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
They are not required to protect a company's investment in a product (Apple have not managed to patent the iPod, but its doing alright for them), and serve to stifle innovation.

This may come as a surprise, but the iPod is hardware. And they not only have a design patent on the iPod, but also the dock, etc.

Software patents are a necessity for the industry, and a huge economic benefit for the industry and the country as a whole. (I suspect our "trade gap" with China wouldn't look so lopsided if IP value was added in.) Software patents are one of the things that allows companies to justify vast expenditures in software research. I don't think it's coincidence that the countries with the best IP laws have the best economies.

However, patents are never supposed to be granted for anything that is "obvious to one practiced in the art". I think that bar needs to be set a little higher and there'd be a lot less griping. I have no qualms about innovative stuff being patented, but patenting the number of clicks for something is just nuts.
post #29 of 76
Maybe I could patent the process of turnning a great little app into bloatware and sue Apple for what iTunes has become, if I win, I will buy all of the senior members a shot

software patents are bullshit, period.
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post #30 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by BenJ

Does anyone know if a Interim Injunction could also be filed in order to cease Apple from importing iPods during the case. I know this is the case with UK law but I'm not really familiar with US law? Anyone help me out?

The ITC actually has excellent documentation on their site detailing the standard process for a 337 investigation. Interim injunctions are possible, but unlikely in the next 6 months or so (3 months for the ITC to determine whether to act on the complaint, and 3 months to any decision.)
post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Odedh
doesn't really matter since Creative market Cap is 460m$, and Apple has 8b$ in cash, Apple can buy them and their moronic Patent

Hmmmm...the Apple soundblaster live EAX...whats that sound, the sound of hard core gamers ordering up a Turtle beach...lol
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post #32 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H


Actually, Apple failed to patent the iPod interface because Microsoft got there first! (see here and here). I don't know where Creative think they are coming from with this.

while creative was shuffling patent paper work, Apple was shipping product; PRIOR ART.
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post #33 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
software patents are bullshit, period.

No, they're not, period. (Look, we can debate all day! "I know you're not but what am I?")

Seriously, no one who gripes about them has provided a better solution. They just need to have their bar for "obvious" set higher, is all. It would also be nice to have a trademark-like "if you don't enforce them you lose them" policy to get rid of those "sleeper" patents.
post #34 of 76
Creative is looking for a golden parachute to get money for the company's execs and shareholders in an Apple buyout. Don't give them the pleasure. Spend a $Billion to make sure they all declare bankruptcy and die penniless.

Die Creative, Die!
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post #35 of 76
The patent was filed 1/5/2001. The first iPod debuted 10/23/2001. While I'm not an alarmist, the patent is a close read for the iPod interface, and since the filing predates the product release by Apple, I'm concerned. According to this story , the interface referenced in the patent was used in Creative's NOMAD Jukebox, which debuted in September 2000. Apple's patent application for the iPod interface was not filed until October 28, 2002.

But I *love* the whole notion of Apple buying Creative to quell the patent issue... OMG, can you image the tirade Jobs would go on?
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post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
No, they're not, period. (Look, we can debate all day! "I know you're not but what am I?")

Seriously, no one who gripes about them has provided a better solution. They just need to have their bar for "obvious" set higher, is all. It would also be nice to have a trademark-like "if you don't enforce them you lose them" policy to get rid of those "sleeper" patents.

It's almost refreshing to see the voice of reason amongst a thread of knee-jerk reactions from zealots.

First, yes, patents are very important. Anyone who doesn't understand that, surely doesn't have the capacity to actually create something that's worth protecting.

Second, to your point, what's ridiculous is the type of thing that they allow you to patent. To that end, I agree, the bar needs to be raised significantly.

Steve
post #37 of 76
The main problem I see with software patents (actually two problems) is that they can be difficult for the examiners to understand in their relation to prior art. The Office of Patents and Trademarks is seriously underfunded. That's why these patents are granted. Often they depend upon third parties to provide them with evidence of prior art. If none surfaces, the patent will be granted.

But, that doesn't mean that the patent is invalid. Those here, who assume that this patent is groundless have no evidence that they are presenting that shows that. The browser is not an equivalent. Just because something, at first glance, seems similar,it doesn't mean that it is, where it counts.

I'm sure that something as obvious as the Next browser would have been asserted as evidence that both this patent, and the one that MS received, were invalid before both were granted, if it were true.

Certainly, if it were true, then Apple itself would not have found the need to patent its iPod interface. Don't forget that.

The fact that they did, shows that the Next browser has nothing to do with it.

To get back to the beginning, the second reason is that, unlike, hardware patents, software becomes obsolete in a shorter period of time, generally.

I feel that software patents should last for about five years. That would give the holder ample time to recoup the costs, and make proper income from it, without stifling development for more than a short time.
post #38 of 76
In the same vein:

Patent office will ask the public to "peer review" inventions
The US Patent and Trademark Office has launched "Peer to Patent," a community patent peer review project. The USPTO is overloaded with patent filings, so it does little or no investigation into patnets before rubber-stamping them, expecting that the courts will sort out who invented what. This changes the patent system from something that promotes invention to something that rewards companies who aggressively sue inventors.
Peer to Patent aims to address this by encouraging the public to review patents, to determine whether they are valid based on the at-large expert knowledge about what has already been invented and what is a new, useful, nonobvious invention. IBM has agreed to have its patents vetted by the public as a guinea pig in the project.
Project founder Beth Novacek sez,
This Friday, May 12, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a briefing on the community patent peer review project.
The May 12 briefing will be hosted by John Doll, Commissioner for Patents, USPTO, and Jay Lucas, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.
The purpose of the May 12, 2006 briefing is to provide greater in-depth analysis of the peer review pilot project as well as answer the question of what constitutes valid prior art.
The represents a kick-off of the peer review project and the effort to move from proposal to working prototype with a launch at the beginning of 2007.

Link: http://dotank.nyls.edu/communitypatent/

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post #39 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
In the same vein:

Patent office will ask the public to "peer review" inventions
The US Patent and Trademark Office has launched "Peer to Patent," a community patent peer review project. The USPTO is overloaded with patent filings, so it does little or no investigation into patnets before rubber-stamping them, expecting that the courts will sort out who invented what. This changes the patent system from something that promotes invention to something that rewards companies who aggressively sue inventors.
Peer to Patent aims to address this by encouraging the public to review patents, to determine whether they are valid based on the at-large expert knowledge about what has already been invented and what is a new, useful, nonobvious invention. IBM has agreed to have its patents vetted by the public as a guinea pig in the project.
Project founder Beth Novacek sez,
This Friday, May 12, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a briefing on the community patent peer review project.
The May 12 briefing will be hosted by John Doll, Commissioner for Patents, USPTO, and Jay Lucas, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.
The purpose of the May 12, 2006 briefing is to provide greater in-depth analysis of the peer review pilot project as well as answer the question of what constitutes valid prior art.
The represents a kick-off of the peer review project and the effort to move from proposal to working prototype with a launch at the beginning of 2007.

Link: http://dotank.nyls.edu/communitypatent/

Yes. Very good. That explains it with detail.

There are already, several groups that watch the patent process and chime in when they find something that they believe shouldn't be granted.
post #40 of 76
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
No, they're not, period. (Look, we can debate all day! "I know you're not but what am I?")

Seriously, no one who gripes about them has provided a better solution. They just need to have their bar for "obvious" set higher, is all. It would also be nice to have a trademark-like "if you don't enforce them you lose them" policy to get rid of those "sleeper" patents.

I'm with you, there needs to be some protection but anyone can have a good idea and sitting on it waiting for someone else to do the hard work & implement it (or failing to implement it successfuly yourself-ouch!) isn't to the benefit of all. Especially as the patent was filed when the iPod must have been in the later stages of design i.e. Apple hardly poached an existing design.

Hopefully this means Apple will realise they're a bit prone in their dependency on the US market and will get those TV shows (or other local TV shows) out to other iTMSs ASAP to help boost overseas iPod sales.

McDave
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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