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Creative Sues Apple

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the who-says-we-aren't-a-litigious-society dept.

423

E IS mC(Square) writes "Looks like Apple's legal problems are not yet over. ZDNet reports that Creative has sued Apple over their iPod interface. From the article: 'Creative Technology said Monday that it has filed two legal actions against Apple Computer, charging the popular iPod infringes on its patented technology. ... In both cases, Creative says that the iPod and iPod Nano infringe on a patent the company has for the interface in its Zen media player, a patent granted last August.'"

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sweet (3, Funny)

SpaceballsTheUserNam (941138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340442)

Finally the cruel injustice wrought on Creative will finally be rectified.

Re:sweet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340463)

Apple will deservedly get its arse kicked for the crap and the grief it gives everyone about infringing on Apples patents.

Re:sweet (-1, Flamebait)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340508)

If you can't deal with the fact that our legal system rewards innovation, maybe you'd be better off living on a desert island without an iPod, a usable OS, or any of the other accoutrements of modern civilization. I hope Apple succeeds for once in defending its intellectual property against those who would profit by mere imitation.

Re:sweet (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340538)

If you can't deal with the fact that our legal system rewards innovation

Our legal system rewards those with the deepest pockets.

I hope Apple succeeds for once in defending its intellectual property against those who would profit by mere imitation.

Um, in this case Apple are the imitators and Creative are the "innovators".

Re:sweet (0)

tigga (559880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340791)

Um, in this case Apple are the imitators and Creative are the "innovators".

Creative lawers say that. Not proved yet.

Re:sweet (-1, Troll)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340552)

If you can't deal with the fact that our legal system rewards innovation,

Exactly! I agree with dis*traction 100%

I mean - Creative are acting like they invented the mp3 player or something!1!!!!!!!11!

Everyone know that Apple invented the portable music player and licensed it to sony in the 70s!!1!1!!!

Re:sweet (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340654)

What's so innovative about the iPod?

Re:sweet (0, Flamebait)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340658)

Not sucking.

Re:sweet (1, Flamebait)

wipis (923685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340704)

I have a creative Zen xtra. I got the 40 gig for about $200 dollars less then the iPod. Sure its not perfect but it works and the huge wad of cash I saved always makes me feel better if the software begins to frustrate me a little or I wish I could put my purchesed music straight on my player.

But Im all for Creative getting a little justice out of this. Apple is a computer company then they come along and act like they invented portable media. For the record there were portable battery powered record players before Steve Jobs hotwired his first PC. Apples innovation can jump off a cliff. They didn't even develop the iPod they just bought it and made it shiny. I believe Creative is greatly under appreciated and maybe not the best company ever but they have done a lot for poratable media. They had a mini half gig player long before apple did and it actually has a screen but people love shiny objects so they go for the apple product.

Sorry rant over.

Re:sweet (-1, Offtopic)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340747)

or I wish I could put my purchesed music straight on my player.

The convenience ITMS offers does not make up for the loss in music quality.

Buy your music on CDs, until someones offering CD-quality (with equivilant DRM) music.

Re:sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340714)

Careful jcr, you're reverting to your usual terse, poorly thought out replies (any minute now, you're going to start selectively quoting).

Stay in character! Or people will know its you!

Re:sweet (1)

psxman (925240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340551)

Dept. of redundancy department, etc.

Re:sweet (1)

himanshuarora (881139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340784)

This is going to be something nice.

Sad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340444)

It's sad, but it's becoming a predictable reality that corporations prefer to litigate rather than innovate. It's especially true of companies who are circling the drain. (SCO, anyone?)

Re:Sad (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340451)

"It's sad, but it's becoming a predictable reality that corporations prefer to litigate rather than innovate."

It's also sad that corporations would rather imitate rather than innovate. Hard to say which is worse, really.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340476)

Imitation is flattery.

Litigation is (usually) just a worthless drain of resources.

Re:Sad (1)

iogan (943605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340547)

"It's sad, but it's becoming a predictable reality that corporations prefer to litigate rather than innovate." It's also sad that corporations would rather imitate rather than innovate. Hard to say which is worse, really.

The sad part, is that this has been going on for decades, and no-one seems to have noticed until now.

Re:Sad (3, Insightful)

DeadPrez (129998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340558)

It depends on your definition of imitate. For example, I don't mind that all consumer cars have four wheels.

Re:Sad (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340616)

"It depends on your definition of imitate. For example, I don't mind that all consumer cars have four wheels."

No no, of course not. But we all shake our pitchforks when the debate about Microsoft vs. Apple vs. Xerox comes up.

Re:Sad (3, Insightful)

localman (111171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340646)

Seems easy to say which is worse. Imitation is great... it means we get various refined versions of a new idea and people can choose. The public usually benefits. This is what progress is all about: incremental improvements building on the ideas of others.

Litigation on the other hand is just a way to squash competition without benefiting anyone but the litigant. It's a crap business tactic and a sign of a company who fears they can't add to the mix.

And FYI I'm no Apple fanboy... I think iTunes DRM sucks and they should drop it entirely or at the very least open it up so it's a standard.

Cheers.

Re:Sad (2, Interesting)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340652)

{Sigh} In this case, I'd rather see Creative given a collective wedgie. In case you didn't know, the patent involved here has to do with the playlist. The way the playlist is implemented in both players is the only obvious way I can see to do it and thus falls into the patent domain of an obvious technology which means the damn patent shouldn't have been implemented in the first place. BTW, under the Creative patent every player on the desktop is also in violation but they don't have deep pockets nor are they likely to cough up much to prevent an injunction. Frankly, if Creative were really interested in protecting their patent they should have gone after M$ and Real a looooong time ago for their violations. Creative was smart in that regard. M$ would have bought them out of petty cash and Real would have simply further broken their already horrible piece of crap software (which might not be a bad thing). I don't believe Apple has the cash laying around to just do a hostile takeover.

Re:Sad (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340666)

"It's also sad that corporations would rather imitate rather than innovate. Hard to say which is worse, really."

Flamebait? You've got to be kidding! How many times have we heard the phrase "iPod killer"?

Last August? (3, Interesting)

thecampbeln (457432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340445)

Ok, I know that patents can take a while to get thru the maze that is the US patent office, and I also know of submarine patents [wikipedia.org] , but does Prior Art mean anything anymore?

Re:Last August? (4, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340447)

The key word there is granted, not submitted.

Re:Last August? (2, Insightful)

thecampbeln (457432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340461)

I know, hence my mention of submarine mazes (or whatever I said, I can't remember ;)

But really, I must agree with another poster (AC or no) [slashdot.org] : "...it's becoming a predictable reality that corporations prefer to litigate rather than innovate."

Re:Last August? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340561)

You really should read the case history here before assuming it lacks merit. Creative DID innovate and it was (rather blatantly) stolen.

Hell, Apple even stole the name "Nano" from Creative. They launched the Zen Nano 5-6 months before Apple even had a press release introducing their forthcoming Nano.

Given slashdot's general Apple lovefest, though, I doubt many will call this what it is: Microsoftian behavior.

Innovate or get the hell out of the way, but don't steal so damn blatantly.

Re:Last August? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340814)

Talent borrows, genius steals.

Apple have killed Creative in the marketplace on even terms, lawsuits like this are the last act of a dying company.

Re:Last August? (4, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340612)

If they submitted the patent before Apple started using the disputed aspects of it, then how is it a submarine patent? A submarine patent is one that's submitted, granted, and then quietly sat on by the holder until the covered tech has gained widespread adoption - then and only then do they start enforcing it, knowing that

a) there are lots of targets
b) it'll be much more painful to remove/do without the patented tech than just pay-up

See for example the .gif patent.

Re:Last August? (4, Informative)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340776)

IANAPL but...
If they submitted the patent before Apple started using the disputed aspects of it, then how is it a submarine patent? A submarine patent is one that's submitted, granted...
No, I believe you are incorrect. My understanding is that, before the US cleaned up their patent laws, a submarine patent was one that was filed but not granted. The old laws allowed a patent to be tweaked multiple times effectively delaying the grant pretty much indefinitely. An unscrupulous person/company could thus tune a patent to cause the most havoc when he/they effectively chose to get it granted.

Thankfully, the USPTO is a bit more like the rest of the world so this practice should now have stopped.

Re:Last August? (1)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340610)

Shoot me in the face if I don't understand, but why should a user interface of pedestrian device reflecting a mature technology be subject to patent?

Re:Last August? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340660)

Hell if I know. But in this case I don't mind. The iPod love was getting annoying.

Re:Last August? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340684)

Ok, I know that patents can take a while to get thru the maze that is the US patent office, and I also know of submarine patents, but does Prior Art mean anything anymore?

Creative's interface hasn't changed all that much since the old 6Gb Nomad Jukebox that I remember fondly. That has to be significant prior art over the "iPod" and clones, surely? I'm surprised they applied for the patent so late.

Mixed emotions abound (2, Interesting)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340450)

a patent granted last August.
I hate patents as much as the next guy who isnt recieving royalties. But I am guessing the patent in question might have been applied for years ago. How long does this process take?

Re:Mixed emotions abound (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340600)

Dude is your sig really a Bush lyric?

Re:Mixed emotions abound (5, Informative)

enitime (964946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340716)

"But I am guessing the patent in question might have been applied for years ago."

Patent No. 6,928,433 [uspto.gov] was filed in January 2001. Before the iPod was unveiled in October.

The site isn't available at the moment (Maximum number of users has been reached.) but it looked like a fairly typical old-method-but-for-new-technology patent. You know the type... "auction bidding... but on the Internet!".

Re:Mixed emotions abound (3, Insightful)

FirienFirien (857374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340722)

Usually years, somewhere around 3-4 on average. Stick a random number between 5,500,000 and 7,000,000 (1996-2006, ish) into the USPTO numsearch page [uspto.gov] and compare the granted date (top right) to the date of filing (usually the last line in the third info-section) if you want to have a play.

It takes such a long time because they have to be reviewed by patent examiners, compared to prior art to make sure they're not infringing, which includes referring to patents not in the patent referral list (you'll see in a lot of patents that the inventor compares and contrasts his application with previous patents, to clarify the differences). It usually has to be sent back and corrected, sits in a waiting queue whenever it's in the patent office's hands, suffer any delays the submitter wants or has; the list goes on. It's a tedious process that I think we saw an article about last week, since the workload of patent reviewers is simply too high; it all contributes to major delays. Compare with older patents - the few around 4M I checked took between a year and two years.

My lawyer always said.. (4, Funny)

Sose5000 (261728) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340456)

If you can't beat them, sue them.. And give me 33%.

Wha...? (3, Insightful)

mizhi (186984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340458)

I haven't followed MP3 player chronology very closely. Didn't the iPod come out before the Zen player?

And if this patent was granted last August, why wait until now to sue?

Seems to me that creative is just ticked they got trounced in a market they originally had been doing well in.

Re:Wha...? (3, Funny)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340520)

'worked for SCO...

the SCO scheme (1)

nephridium (928664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340689)

You have a point. First wait for somebody else to make lots of money with your alleged patent, THEN sue them.

(Hasn't worked out for SCO though; either because they didn't really have a case or because their lawyers weren't good enough to pull it off - depends on how corrupt you believe the system is)

Re:the SCO scheme (2, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340699)

If you have a good case, pound on the law. If you have a weak case, pound on the witnesses. If you have no case, pound on the table.

Re:Wha...? (-1, Troll)

Fengpost (907072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340549)

Yes, Creative is a sore loser!
The reason the waited for so long to sue is that it took them a long time to found the lawyers with enough balls to take on Apple!

Re:Wha...? (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340572)

erm, no :)

apple would have raised the price for the ipod if that would have happened in august (to cover the obvious spendings on patent and lawyer relation), it wouldn't have made that many sales. now creative just waited for them to slam up the bigger profit and are grabbing it now

nothing to do with lawyers or (the absence of) their balls. this is just regular maths and common sense. creative seems to have it.

Re:Wha...? (2, Insightful)

kegon (766647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340738)

Didn't the iPod come out before the Zen player?

OK, picture this: I have an idea for a music player and submit a patent application. A larger company launches a product based on a similar idea 4 months later. My company takes 6 months to get the product ready and launch. Maybe the large company filed their own patent just after mine but it's still in the patent application process waiting to be assessed like mine.

why wait until now to sue?

Who said they waited ? Sometimes these things take a long time: patent granted, gather evidence, decide whether you can find enough money to go to court and if you're going to risk losing, find a suitable lawyer who knows something about the technology, put together your arguments, etc.

More important question (2, Interesting)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340459)

... for the interface in its Zen media player, a patent granted last August.

I thought that patent protection had changed. Instead of 17 years from issuance, it is now 20 years from first application. I am pretty certain I read about that change taking place in order to stop people from milking the system by filing an application and then repeatedly ammending it, effectively lengethening the period of protection.

So the bigger question is, "When was the application filed?"

Re:More important question (1, Insightful)

Mydron (456525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340506)

Instead of 17 years from issuance, it is now 20 years from first application. So the bigger question is, "When was the application filed?"

It's pretty safe to say it was filed less than 17 years ago.

Re:More important question (1)

opusman (33143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340516)

According this ars story - http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2005/8/1 0/922 [arstechnica.com] - it was filed about 5 months before Apple tried to file their own, back in 2002.

Re:More important question (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340675)

That patent was filed by Microsoft (Research, so less evil) employee John Platt [microsoft.com] , rather than Creative, though.

Re:More important question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340706)

Good thing the iPod [wikipedia.org] was released to the public back on October 23, 2001. Apple's own prior art, the actual invention being mass-marketed, should easily invalidate Creative's attempts to re-wage the MP3 wars outside of the marketplace.

Re:More important question (1)

simong_oz (321118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340754)

Hooray, someone on slashdot who understands the patent system!

I want the patent clusterfuck to get worse (2, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340480)


I firmly believe the only way for us to be free of the insanities of the patent system
is going to be for things to get so unbearable for the big players ... that *they*
start clamoring for reform.

Re:I want the patent clusterfuck to get worse (4, Insightful)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340491)

because that worked oh so well for copyright.

Re:I want the patent clusterfuck to get worse (2, Insightful)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340554)

Corporations are the ones with enough resources to attract legislators' attention when they start to suffer, and corporations almost never get sued for copyright infringement. Patent infringement, on the other hand...

Creative is an evil company (5, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340484)

Not very surprising. Will probably be modded flamebait, but..

Creative is used to having a hold on their market and killing off competition (ie, SoundStorm) by buying out companies or technologies they depend on. The result is them making sub-quality products and incremental upgrades that are *just* good enough for people to bother, and selling them for top dollar. And then shafting the customer with bad support on all but their latest product line.

So I can see why they don't know how to play fair and compete. They don't know how to handle Apple any other way.

Re:Creative is an evil company (5, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340568)

In more recent history, they patented (John) Carmack's Reverse [wikipedia.org] rendering technique, and then used it against id [techreport.com] to force them to include EAX functionality in the Doom3 engine.

Re:Creative is an evil company (1, Informative)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340690)

Lady, did you even read your own link?

It says it was invented and patented by two guys in 1999, one year before Carmack reinvented it in 2000 for doom3. Creative got ownership of the patent from the two guys, and used it as trade for EAX support.

Nothing all to dirty here, just business.

Re:Creative is an evil company (0)

jsse (254124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340587)

They don't call themselves 'Creative' for nothing.

Re:Creative is an evil company (-1, Flamebait)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340592)

I hope Apple wins this case, sues back Creative into oblivion and assimilates Zen into iPod family as prize.

Creative management should be personally sued for using submarine patents.

Re:Creative is an evil company (2, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340638)

I can't speak for Creative's past as I know nothing of it. I can say that my Creative Zen Vision:M is one slick ass MP3 player that pounds my iPod into dust. A Creative Zen plus Rhapsody's all you can eat MP3 service is one kick ass combination. Personally, I think that this shows simply that competetion is good and can serve as a swift kick in the ass to get companies into gear and make decent products.

Re:Creative is an evil company (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340682)

I second that. I had a creative MP3 player long before the iPod was "in" and it worked very well.

Re:Creative is an evil company (1)

mulciberxp (932827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340686)

Creative had nothing to do with the discontinuation of SoundStorm

Re:Creative is an evil company (1)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340691)

Exactly my thoughts on the matter. Never done this before but here it is.. so begins my official boycott on Creative. Not that it makes any real difference to them as I buy one of their products every few years at a push but makes me feel better!

Screw you Creative.

Re:Creative is an evil company (1)

Rulother (975147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340731)

SoundStorm is a Nvidia product just fyi. But you are thinking of Aureal or at least I hope you are. People don't forgot about the Nomad that was out years before the iPod.

Re:Creative is an evil company (1)

croddy (659025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340770)

This is essentially the same as Apple's equally dubious patent [uspto.gov] on... well, exactly the same thing. They both claim to have invented an interface for hierarchical browsing of media files.

I guess they don't know how to handle Creative any other way?

The reason for all the lawsuits (0, Redundant)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340489)

In all these law suits there is one clear winner, the lawyers.

Re:The reason for all the lawsuits (-1, Offtopic)

Technician (215283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340604)

I'm hoping that all DRM will be patented and kept off the shelves each with a huge market penetration like the SONY Memory Stick.

After that then maybe players will go to OGG or plain MP3 and use a simple thumb drive connection and no special software.

I know that is just a pipe dream as the media companies are against non-DRM products.

Browsing data (5, Informative)

stivi (534158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340493)

The column view (browser view) has been in NeXTSTEP [kernelthread.com] since 1989. Apple acquired NeXT in the mid-90s. I do not say that Apple holds patent on it nor invented it (Xerox Smalltalk class browser?). I just want to say, that the column has been here for a while and it was somehow related to Apple too.

Moreover! Filtering data using a column view is also quite old. It has been used in data-warehousing as way of drilling-down [webopedia.com] . In the music player it is nothing more, nothing less: it is drilling-down through your song database. Just ask Bill Inmon or Ralph Kimball :-) It is the same to drill-down by region, store and date or by genre, artist and album. They are just different terms.

Re:Browsing data (1)

Dan Guisinger (15506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340503)

Wow, did you just post that on macrumors.com too? that looks oh so familiar......its like word for word....

LOL

Re:Browsing data (1)

stivi (534158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340524)

One more thing: if they are patenting one column = one-screen, then they are patenting following code in Objective-C/Cocoa, of which equivalend is used on another digital device:


NSBrowser *iPodBrowser;

[iPodBrowser setMaxVisibleColumns:1];
[iPodBrowser setHasHorizontalScroller:NO];


And putting the iPodBrowser view inside a full-screen window without titlebar... Classes required: NSBrowser, NSWindow and NSScreen. Available in OpenStep before Apple bought NeXT.

Re:Browsing data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340578)

This makes me wonder, how much weight does the legal system put on applications of existing, more generic technology? Your example is a very simple parameterization of an existing solution, and maybe it would be accepted as prior art (depending on the exact patent claims of course). On the other hand, parameterizing an existing technology such as a computer with a new piece of software is obviously patentable in the US.

There is a continuum between entering a program to a computer, and setting numerical parameter values to a software system. Where is the line drawn between what is patentable and what is not? I'm sure there are plenty of numerical parameter values that produce surprising behaviour in existing solutions, such that even the inventor didn't think of them. Yet it seems ridiculous that the inventor of the generic system should not be allowed to use specific settings for his invention, just because someone else has patented them.

How does the patent office handle this issue? When applying an existing technology, how many settings do you have to change in order to get a patent?

Novel application (2, Funny)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340584)

The column view (browser view) has been in NeXTSTEP since 1989.
Oh, sure, column view is old hat. But a column-view MP3 player? Now that's original thinking. I mean, that takes the same level of genius as wireless email.

Re:Novel application (4, Funny)

Tim[m] (5411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340628)

Oh, sure, column view is old hat. But a column-view MP3 player? Now that's original thinking.

And it's genius, too. I was riding on the subway the other day, listening to some tunes, bopping my head -- I had my headphones on, and I was carrying my NeXTstation under my right arm. (The monitor goes in my backpack.) Perfectly normal, right? Well, everyone was staring at my NeXTstation. Those things are hot and heavy. Anyway, it felt awkward (though a little kinky) to have everyone staring at my NeXTstation. The genius of Creative's MP3 player is that it gives you that great column view, but it fits in your pocket, so you don't have to deal with the awkwardness of people jealously eying your NeXTstation.

Ooh... (2, Insightful)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340672)

The genius of Creative's MP3 player is that it gives you that great column view, but it fits in your pocket, so you don't have to deal with the awkwardness of people jealously eying your NeXTstation.
So... can I have your NeXTstation once you get an MP3 player?

Re:Browsing data (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340677)

Except Apple will have difficultly arguing "prior art", because they have patented something very similar.

What is the patent?? (1)

iogan (943605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340504)

What is the patent for though? Can't say that I think the UI is that similar, and in those regards that it is, it seems like quite obvious things, which I don't think should be covered by patents (and probably isn't anywhere else than the US). Or am I missing something?

Re:What is the patent?? (1)

wilko11 (452421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340540)

It would seem to refer to Patent #6928433 [uspto.gov] . It was filed back in 2001, however I would have thought that this sort of hierarchical organisation existed before then.

Re:What is the patent?? (2, Interesting)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340681)

Oh I dunno, there have been recent patents granted for what amounts to symbolic links, user ID via cookies, one click purchasing, and some less obvious and more fantastic things like hyperdrives (or some such nonsense).
The patent office used to have time to use their heads and also verify minor details like facts. A patent granted used to cary a lot of weight due to this function the patent office performed.
Now it simply carries weight.And we allow it for no particular reason other than history.I would say in this case the hacking of the system has become the norm, and some people even call it 'good bussiness'.
All the while we look to find our own cache, I am working on my "middle click to purchase" patent right now. Its ingeneous, but far to complex to explain right here. I am up to 43 pages what with the diagrams.No one will see it comming. Certainly not the patent clerk who reviews it.
Anyhow, live long and all that. Be carefull where you use the middle button. I got dibs.

Advertising Thru the Court (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340513)

I think it's telling the Creative Nomad navigation referred to has been renamed the 'Zen Patent' (their current line) by Creative. Along with going only after Apple at this point (other makers have similar navigation), it seems like sour grapes to me. Creative CEO Sim Wong has repeatedly shown he has no idea how to manage this space, publically bad mouthing Apple, while Creative sales slide and profits sink. Finally when Creative decides to do TV spots, this is what they come up with??? http://www.creative.com/tvc/ [creative.com]

Re:Advertising Thru the Court (1)

iogan (943605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340585)

Plus the google ads below the summary are all for Zen players too. I'm sooo not clicking on them.

Re:Advertising Thru the Court (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340678)

Went to the link and links to the ads were broken. Typical. So I de-munged them to view them - now I wish I hadn't! *You have been warned.*

Windows Media Player (WMV):
http://www.creative.com/tvc/Videos/Shaolin_Brain_6 40.wmv [creative.com]
http://www.creative.com/tvc/Videos/about_face_320. wmv [creative.com]
http://www.creative.com/tvc/Videos/Mega_Ear_640.wm v [creative.com]
http://www.creative.com/tvc/Videos/battery_640.wmv [creative.com]

Quicktime (MOV):
http://www.creative.com/tvc/Videos/Shaolin_Brain_6 40.mov [creative.com]
http://www.creative.com/tvc/Videos/about_face_640. mov [creative.com]
http://www.creative.com/tvc/Videos/Mega_Ear_640.mo v [creative.com]
http://www.creative.com/tvc/Videos/battery_640.mov [creative.com]

Ugh. Only the battery ad isn't cringeworthy, but it's still lame. For Creative's sake, hopefully their lawyers are better than their marketers.

Re:Advertising Thru the Court (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340787)

I noticed the links were screwed up too. I love watching corporate sites fall apart like that. Hey - that downsizing and pullback on the updates really worked didn't it?

That aside, I'd have to say that most are meh-worthy, but the Shaolin Brain one was decent enough. Any commercial with a guy getting his face pounded into a book is ok with me. Perhaps he was an employee of Creative?

Pass popcorn, it should be entertaining to watch.. (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340528)

My bet: after four rounds it will be 2:2 and they will solve it out of court.

And in the same time, I welcome our ligitation overlords...Ohh crap, I think I will go to China.

The Actual Patent (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340546)

After a little searching, I believe this is the patent.

United States Patent 6,928,433
Goodman , et al. August 9, 2005
Automatic hierarchical categorization of music by metadata

Abstract

A method, performed by software executing on the processor of a portable music playback device, that automatically files tracks according to hierarchical structure of categories to organize tracks in a logical order. A user interface is utilized to change the hierarchy, view track names, and select tracks for playback or other operations.
Inventors: Goodman; Ron (Santa Cruz, CA); Egan; Howard N. (Capitola, CA)
Assignee: Creative Technology LTD (Singapore, SG)
Appl. No.: 755723
Filed: January 5, 2001

Re:The Actual Patent (4, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340591)

To see why this patent is invalid, do the following:

* substitute 'classes' for 'tracks'
* substitute 'methods' for 'names'
* substitute 'computer' for 'music playback device'

And suddenly you have the classic Smalltalk object browser. This patent will be whacked in court, just like the uncrustables patent was denied by the USPTO. The USPTO said that uncrustables were basically big breakfast ravioli. Unfortunately, the examiner wasn't well-versed enough in the computer field (ie: he probably doesn't even know how to spell Smalltalk), so granted this one.

Applying the same old cookie cutter to a new kind of dough isn't a valid patent, even if the examiner thinks it is.

Re:The Actual Patent (4, Insightful)

sane? (179855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340626)

That is what I found, although mention is made of two patents. Maybe its just a followup patent that companies usually file to carve out a bigger segment of patentspace?

Face it, this is an obvious menu system based on obvious metadata. The problem here is it should never have been granted a patent in the first place. The patent office has become mired in money making scams in recent decades and the whole system has fallen into disrepute. It serves nobody well.

  • The small inventor has no way of using a patent to protect them since costs are high and costs of protecting the patent are even higher. Any reasonably sized company can grind them into dust in the courts.
  • Companies actually creating virtually anything find there is some spurious over-general patent somewhere that they infringe in putting one piece of plastic next to one piece of metal; so there is an orgy of cross licencing and costs associated. This all takes time and reduces the pace of innovation
  • The public aren't served by ideas being freely available and built upon, because most of the ideas are obvious, the patent tries hard to make it impossible to understand, and if you ever use the information you get slapped with an injunction.

Oops, sorry, there is one group of people that do well, the lawyers. Strange that.

Face it. We need a year zero in IP, a fundamental reexamination of why we give any protection at all, and how much is the right amount. We need to accept that all IP to this date is on very shaky ground and that the simplest approach is to wipe the slate clean. Above all, we need to make it a criminal offence for a company to attempt to buy laws. How many of our problems can be traced back to corporate/politician corruption? Maybe the best solution is to extract a written guarantee from anyone standing in the midterms that they will ensure IP laws are scaled back? Make it an issue.

A jihad against lawyers wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Intellectual THEFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340676)

It's theft of ideas, before this patent was issued anyone in the USA could use a hierarchical menu to organise their music. After this patent is issued they have that taken away from them.

Since the patent is only supposed to be issued to genuinely new and non-obvious ideas, its theft.

In this case it's Creative of Singapore, attempt to steal Apple's right to hierarchically organise its music.

Re:The Actual Patent (2, Interesting)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340728)

A jihad against lawyers wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Actually I came across that once in a Science-Fiction novel: "First Citizen". by some statistical quirk, a whole bunch of lawyers turned up dead in various ways on April 1 of that year. The notion took with the public and ever after April 1 was no longer April Fools day, it became Lawyers Day whereupon open season was declared on lawyers for that one day. Sounds like a good idea here!

Queue List? (1)

Fishy (17624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340563)

Didn't the early ipods have no queue list function? Perhaps its this they are talking about.

Do Creative make music players? (0, Redundant)

volatilises (945044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340573)

I didn't know that.

prior use? (1)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340589)

Do American patent laws have any concept of prior use? It seems almost anyone can patent anything these days and sue anyone for any reason. Would it be possible for me to take out a patent on replying to posts and ask everyone who replies to this for royalties ?

Creative was originally going to make the ipod (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340593)

I'm posting AC because I don't want anyone to get into trouble. Anyways, this is the story I heard.

Jobs had the creative pres in his office. Apple was going to have creative make the original ipod. Conversation went something along these lines.

Jobs: We like the idea of the nomad jukebox, but it's really ugly.
Creative pres: Apples suck.
Creative apple lover: Boss you just told jobs apple sucked!

A few months later the peon got fired, then rehired to work the booths at fry's electronics. He had a really good position at creative before this, but supposidly inside creative it is a very PC (personal computer, not politically correct) enviroment. Basically anyone even breathing the word Apple gets the shaft.

True story, might have gotten some facts wrong but it pretty much sums it up.

Forget NeXTStep...empeg car (3, Informative)

n6mod (17734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340614)

Lots of people are referring to the column browser in NeXTstep (or the Lisa). That's all fine and good, but probably irrelavent.

What is much more relavent as prior art is the empeg car. That had hierarchical playlist menus in '99, which beats the priority date for this patent by a year.

However, that IP is now held by SigmaTel, and their largest customers are Creative and Apple (no idea which order)

Prior art doesn't have to be held by the defendant in a patent suit...it just has to exist. This patent won't hold, and I'm a little surprised that Creative doesn't know better.

Bullshit (0, Troll)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340668)

Right, so when can Apple sue Windows for making a GUI file system for their OS? Eat shit, Creative. If the judge files for the plaintiff in this, I will personally kick him in the teeth.

Re:Bullshit (1, Funny)

atarione (601740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340688)

yes but Xerox can sue apple for making a GUI interface that they made first =p

http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/gui.ars/3 [arstechnica.com]

apple invented the GUI......please...

Re:Bullshit (3, Informative)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340705)

Right, so when can Apple sue Windows for making a GUI file system for their OS?

They did.

I hate Creative (3, Informative)

Polybius (743489) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340694)

Reminds me of the time Creative sued Aureal for making A3D compatible with EAX. Aureal won the case but the cost of defending themselves ended up bankrupting the company. Next they bought Sensaura who provided nVidia, VIA, etc. with 3D support (soundstorm for nForce2) and killed the technology. They have done everything in their power to protect their precious EAX even though it is inferior to traditional home theatre suround sound.

Luckily Auzentech is growing and their technology is improving greatly. The Auzentech Xplosion 7.1 does Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect. This card sounds incredibly better than any Creative card I have ever heard.

If you can't beat them sue them (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15340708)

Creative mp3 players sucks. I had a Zen, interface useless, ended up throwing it out.

Creative wants iTunes/iTMS access (4, Interesting)

daBass (56811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15340726)

At least, that is my theory.

I really doubt this is a money-grab-patent-trolling attempt, rather it is more likely Creative wants access to iTunes as settlement. That means being able to use Creative's players in iTunes and also the players being able to play FairPlay protected content.

If that is what Creative is gunning for, then I hope they get what they want as it would be a good thing for all of us.
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