As Expected, Creative Uses Patent Success Against Apple To Go After Others

from the how-innovative-of-them dept

rijit writes in that following Apple's decision to settle with Creative, despite their not particularly original patent on how to display music in a hierarchical way on an MP3 player, Creative is now taking the settlement as proof that everyone is taking "their technology." They're now preparing to go after plenty of other companies, claiming: "There many MP3 player makers in the US market that are currently using the Zen technology, and there are also several cellphones that are music-enabled that are using the Zen patent." This, of course, implies that these other companies somehow "took" the "technology" from Creative, rather than simply recognizing an obvious way to present a music player interface on a portable device. It's really too bad Apple decided to settle, rather than at least challenge the patent. It will make it that much harder for anyone else to challenge it -- though, perhaps that's a good thing for Apple in dealing with its own competitors. Also, since some of the terms of the original agreement mean that Apple pays less if Creative gets others to license the patent, you can begin to see why Apple decided to settle rather than fight. They pay less the more Apple's other (non-Creative) competitors have to pay up.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Starky, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:38pm

    Smart

    Smart move by Apple, though they probably could have won the case if they challenged Creative. Maybe they'll try to challenge the patent after Creative takes the money from the competitors.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    hudson, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:42pm

    as stated before

    the patent system needs a complete overhaul.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    nonuser, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:56pm

    we should expect that

    game theory textbooks will start to use patent blackmail and most favored licensing as a standard example for 2- and N-player games.

    And those that don't, well, they may lose out to those that do... that's the meta-meta-game.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    notauser, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:01pm

    it's simple

    apple just has to bring its meta meta meta game

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Susheel Dawani, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:26pm

    Why would it be harder to challenge?

    It's really too bad Apple decided to settle, rather than at least challenge the patent. It will make it that much harder for anyone else to challenge it...

    Why will Apple settling make it harder for others to challenge Creative's patent?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Somedumbblonde, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:33pm

    Re: Why would it be harder to challenge?

    Simply put... if Apple settles this then has a precident. Other companies thereafter will have to not only have to defend themselves but also try to explain how "their idea" is different than Creative and Apple's.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Susheel Daswani, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Why would it be harder to challenge?

    Precedent? I don't think this settlement has any value as an item of judicial precedent, as the case was never litigated.

    Can anyone else explain?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:51pm

    Typical American litigation bullshit. For goodness' sakes, it's a damn MENU, not the smallest computer in the fucking world. Can someone explain to me how you can patent a menu? Creative can suck my balls for having an inferior product and trying to make themselves feel better by knocking a superior brand, superior product, and in my opinion, superior company.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Marc, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:54pm

    Anonymous coward, that's cute. This is the same poster above. Just wanted to add that if I ever saw Craig McHugh, I'd punch him in the face for saying, "There many MP3 player makers in the US market that are currently using the Zen technology, and there are also several cellphones that are music-enabled that are using the Zen patent," and then take a dump in front of their office down the street from my house.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:55pm

    New way of gaming the patent system??

    Wow, it just hit me. Why couldn't Apple and Creative have been in this thing together from the beginning? Creative 'stages' a patent infringement lawsuit, and Apple 'pays up'. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Watching the biggest player in the market succumb and pay up will make other smaller players much more intimidated, upping the odds of them just paying up. Apple and Creative split the winnings according to their original agreement. Pretty crafty if you ask me?!

     

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  11.  
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    Sohrab, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 8:22pm

    This is just a pathetic attempt from creative to stay in the business of MP3's. There is a reason nobody is buying their system and instead of spending money to come up with something new, team with other companies to form an alliance to come up with their own version of the 'iPod killer", their just going to good ol, American Coporation way, "sue them"

     

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  12.  
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    rijit (profile), Aug 30th, 2006 @ 8:26pm

    Sickening

    I do not know about precedent but this definitely made Creative cocky, to them it seems Apple admitted guilt by settling, so they will go screw the rest of the companies out of money as well. So much for me using their products, I know, one person can't do jack crap but I have had it with the likes of companies like this.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    the Results on My Screen, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 8:58pm

    Creating a patent

    Who patented the way results get displayed on a search engine?? Can Yahoo sue Google, or what was before that... I'm still young. Since i posted the idea here, can I patent it?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 9:48pm

    Creative needs to focus on making better drivers for their products and stop fooling around with this patent nonsense.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 9:54pm

    Re:

    I dont' know about you but 100 million dollars doesn't sound like nonsense too me.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    Derek (profile), Aug 30th, 2006 @ 11:14pm

    Re: Creative can suck my balls

    I totally agree. Apple's settlement baffles me unless indeed there is some hidden benefit. Creative did NOT invent the hierarchical menu system used on the iPod. Every single Macintosh user knows that. All we are looking at on the Zen is a ripoff of THE APPLE MENU which has been in place on Mac OS for decades. Apple: You disappoint me on this issue. Bad corporation! Go to bed. No dinner for you tonight!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Filip, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 11:23pm

    How about all others *also* settle, using the following formula:

    [Apple's income on iPods] vs. [Apple's settlement amount] = [manufacturer's income on their gadgets] vs. [x]

    [x] would in that case be like... $0.85 - problem solved.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 30th, 2006 @ 11:25pm

    Re: Why would it be harder to challenge?

    Why will Apple settling make it harder for others to challenge Creative's patent?

    While there's no legal precedent involved, it's quite common for patent holders to use licensees to put pressure on other companies, and even bring it up in jury court cases that others have licensed it. Having a "big fish" like Apple tends to help even more. Often, smaller companies will feel pressured, saying that "well, if Apple didn't think it was worth fighting, we might as well pay up as well..."

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Thomason, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 7:11am

    Why would it be harder?

    Creative has a $100M to plow into making the fight harder.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Akash, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 7:43am

    Blah Blah

    Creative sucks when thay cant make money out of their zen they are trying the other way round by suing companies

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 8:34am

    Apple's investment in warding off Microsoft?

    If you read into number 10. New way of gaming the patent system (above), then this could also be seen as Apple's way of making trouble for Microsoft. If Apple/Creative make it harder for other companies to refuse the pay off, then this could ultimately be a ploy to leverage the patent against Microsoft, and further protect Apple's dominant position in the portable music space. Possibly just a little insurance money from Apple?? Any takers?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Susheel Daswani, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 12:50pm

    While there's no legal precedent involved, it's quite common for patent holders to use licensees to put pressure on other companies, and even bring it up in jury court cases that others have licensed it. Having a "big fish" like Apple tends to help even more. Often, smaller companies will feel pressured, saying that "well, if Apple didn't think it was worth fighting, we might as well pay up as well..."

    Maybe. Likely the most important thing when challenging a patent is the quality of prior art you can find. In fact, in its next term the Supreme Court with hear a case about a former/current licensee seeking a declaratory judgment that the patent they have licensed is invalid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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