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Apple hit with lawsuit over iTunes interface

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2005
News Categories: iTunes

Contois Music Technology has filed a lawsuit against Apple over the user interface of iTunes, according to an AppleInsider report. Contois alleges that Apple violated a patent it holds, and seeks damages and the ability to stop Apple from distributing iTunes as the application looks and behaves now.

“The suit, filed on June 13th in Vermont District Court, alleges that Apple’s iTunes software design infringes on Contois’ six-year old design patent (US Patent No. 5,864,868) entitled ‘Computer Control System and User Interface for Media Playing Devices.’ Contois is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining Apple from further distributing its iTunes software in its current form. The company also asked the Court for an unspecified amount of monetary damages resulting from Apple’s ‘copying and willful infringement’ of its design patent as well as reimbursement of legal fees associated with the lawsuit.”

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Comments

21

so, is Contois Music an actual company?
googling shows that they appear to be only an online store.

anyways, i think Contois should be counter sued for stealing the NextStep interface

http://www.feyrer.de/Texts/Troja/NextStep-WSMgr.gif

Posted by ja450n on July 9, 2005 at 11:17 AM (PDT)

22

They’ve had I don’t even know how many years iTunes has been available to file a lawsuit and they didn’t do it until now. Why? They have no good reason.

I didn’t say I agreed with software patents - I merely pointed out why Contois is going after Apple - it is the one with the biggest pockets and the most cred to lose from a high-profile case. You should direct your ire at Contois, not at me. Or at Apple, which undoubtedly did many patent searches during the iTunes development, and undoubtedly knew of this patent, and yet decided to go ahead anyway without securing any licence.

The EU parliament recently rejected software patents - which is a good thing. As the Contois case demonstrates, software patents should at the very least be scaled back to something more in keeping with “Internet time”, like, say 3-5 years from date of filing.

Remember, the idea of a patent is that the State gives a monopoly to an individual or company for a set period of time, and after that period the “invention” is released into the public domain for the good of the commonwealth.

In the past, when it took decades to build and design technolgoies, it made sense to have multi-decade patents. Now, with software capable of changing radically between versions, a much shorter period is in order.

And don’t get me started on business process patenting. It is ludicrous that Amazon owns the right to “one-click purchasing” on the web for th next decade or so. Every time you click on an iTunes song for purchase, Apple pays Amazon a tiny slice of the price for the “right” to finish your order in a single click. That’s just ludicrous.

And I note that Apple decided to pay Amazon royalties for the one-click patent straight away, rather than fight it. Why? Because Amazon is big, and could squash Apple, but Contois is just a bit player and Apple obviously figured then and figures now that it could steamroll over COntois.

Posted by Demosthenes on July 9, 2005 at 3:46 PM (PDT)

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