Apple fires back at Creative

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Cupertino (CA) - Apple has reacted to Creative's patent infringement suit. It appears that Apple has been prepared for Creative's legal attack for a while, as the firms answer was filed on Monday of this week - the same day Creative filed its suit against Apple, according to Bloomberg News.

While Creative claims that the Apple's Ipod interfaces infringes on its "Zen" patent, Apple says that Creative in fact violates four Apple patents that cover display and interface technology for digital music players. According to Creative, negotiations between the companies were held "over a period of months," but seem to have failed.

Creative has been talking for some time about its intent to enforce a patent that the company received in August of last year and describes a general method of automatically organizing digital music collections into categories. Conceivably, not only Apple, but virtually all companies that sell portable audio players in the US use some or all of the methods patented by Creative and could be a target for a patent infringement lawsuit.

The legal battle with Apple is likely to determine Creative's future, at least as far as the audio player business is concerned. While Apple is reporting record sales and market share shares for its Ipod quarter after quarter, Creative just had to present its highest quarterly loss ever. The company lost $114.3 million in the quarter ended on 31 March, down from a net income of $15.9 million last year. Sales of its Zen music player dropped 51% during the quarter - which was the main factor in dramatically reduced revenues: Sales dropped from $333.8 million in Q1 2005 to $225.7 million in Q1 2006.

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Creative sues Apple over Ipod interface