Lawsuit: Apple sought licensing deal with Creative in 2001 | iLounge News


Lawsuit: Apple sought licensing deal with Creative in 2001

Creative Technology states in its patent lawsuit against Apple that the iPod maker approached Creative in 2001—before the introduction of the iPod—about licensing the company’s technology or investing in a possible Creative digital media player spin-off company. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Creative says in its suit that Apple CEO Steve Jobs approached a Creative employee at the January 2001 Macworld trade show and praised the Nomad, Creative’s first MP3 player. The two discussed a possible meeting, and Mr. Jobs ‘indicated Apple wanted a smaller version’ of the Nomad… The next month, according to the suit, Creative executives met again with Mr. Jobs. The suit says Apple proposed that Creative either license its technology to Apple, or spin off its portable media-player business into a separate company in which Apple would invest. Creative, however, declined Apple’s proposals. In October, Apple introduced its first iPod.”

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The beginning of the illegal patent infriging ipod. What a story lol

Posted by Jonathan Keim on June 8, 2006 at 12:49 PM (CDT)


This is really insane.  Last Sept (2005) I was on an Amtrak train from NYC to Boston.  The first train I was on broke down half way through the trip, and all the passengers had to be moved to another train.  On this second train the person sitting across the aisle from me worked for Creative.  He saw me using my iPod, and we got to talking, and he basically told me this whole story about how Jobs approached him at a trade show, me with him and some other creative big wigs, seemed interested in working with Creative jointly… basically everything that the article says. Really random coincidence, and I wish I could remember his name now. I totally forgot about this whole conversation until I read that up there.

Posted by annon on June 8, 2006 at 1:52 PM (CDT)


thats ludacris man!

Posted by slayer on June 8, 2006 at 1:54 PM (CDT)


I can see this getting really messy. I chose a Creative Zen Micro over an iPod Mini a year ago, but am in ‘the middle’. I don’t regret getting it, but nor do I love it. My next mp3 player with probably be an Apple iPod (although it will mean converting my WMA DRMed music to mp3…).

I can see that if Creative lose the lawsuit(s) they are going down big time. I honestly cannot see Apple losing it, just imagine if they had the import ban order, no iPods. Another thing, I bet you the judges in the cases will own an iPod and won’t want their mp3 player to become ‘illegal’.

Posted by craigb6 on June 8, 2006 at 3:53 PM (CDT)


if the judge going to favor Apple cuz he owns an ipod then i would like to see that judge to be fired.

Posted by slayer on June 8, 2006 at 4:13 PM (CDT)


So what if Apple met with them? Sounds like they met with them, didn’t reach an agreement, then built their own mp3 player. So what?  It’s already well-known that Apple had a short development process for the original iPod and used a lot of “off the shelf” components.

Posted by Kevin Crossman on June 8, 2006 at 4:29 PM (CDT)


@Kevin Crossman


Posted by The Raven on June 8, 2006 at 6:36 PM (CDT)


So then isn’t all this is really saying is, “We belong in the top ten biggest business blunders of the last three decades because….”.  If I was a stockholder in creative I’d sell, they clearly just make one bad decision after a another.

Posted by slider on June 8, 2006 at 7:48 PM (CDT)


i have seen this happen many times in business. creative laid too many cards on the table and ended up getting stung for it. bad business then just as they are still doing bad business now…. they paid far too much money for flash memory in the last 2 quarters, couldn’t sell the mp3 players to cover costs and ended up making million dollar losses.

so now they are betting on the “courts” as their next solution.

tut tut tut.

Posted by steve on June 8, 2006 at 11:18 PM (CDT)




was that my foot? dammit!

Posted by ahMEmon on June 9, 2006 at 9:47 AM (CDT)


Sounds like Jobs used the Bill Gates method of divide and conquer, or in this case copy and conquer.

Posted by Mr. Anderson on June 10, 2006 at 1:21 PM (CDT)

1 now they are betting on the “courts” as their next solution

Guess what…IT WORKS. Just as Microsucks.

This place is so in denial…

All of you spindoctoring Apple fanboys ignore the simple fact that Creative technically has the legal standing to go after Apple. However unjustified and unwarranted I and many others believe that this hierarchial menu patent should’ve ever been awarded to anyone and not just to Creative, the fact remains that it WAS awarded to them. Apple was the clear loser in the eyes of the U.S. Patent Office. And the Patent Office so far has shown ZERO indication that they will begin the process of rescinding this patent that they just awarded only last year. Creative, after all, isn’t just some patent holding clearing house; they actually USE this patent for their own products. Those of you who think that just because Apple is the biggest DAP seller on the block that they will win automatically are only deluding yourselves.

Darker yet for Cupertino, it now appears that Creative can also show a prior incident that that makes Apple appear VERY Microsoft-like, which in Redmond’s case has more often than not come back to bite them HARD all the way through the court system. Prior to the success of iPod, I never thought of Apple as being a predator, but it seems they’ve been taking notes when watching Redmond do their dirty work.

Can Creative lose? It’s always possible, but given past history of such patent infringement cases that’s NOT as likely as the fanboys all are dreaming. I wouldn’t count on Apple winning on appeal, either. The courts RARELY ever rule against the Patent Office’s determinations. All any of you have to do is look no farther than the recent example of Eolas vs. MSFT.

Since I tend to doubt that Creative as a company is going away anytime soon despite all their recent red ink, this case will go to the courts if Apple doesn’t pursue a negotiated settlement. And if that happens, in all likelihood Apple will indeed LOSE given the precedent before this case. At that point the only thing Apple can hope for is that the penalty won’t be that harsh. But considering what Microshaft’s own experiences have been and how much skin they’ve lost once the case itself went against them, that too will be unlikely.

Posted by flatline response on June 10, 2006 at 1:42 PM (CDT)


It would be sadly ironic that Apple gets dinged for stolen ideas from Creative when Microsoft did much more questionable practices when they went to Apple to develop MS Word for the Macintosh.  They saw what it was like and then within months after their agreement that they wouldn’t *start* working on a similar product, released Windows 1.0.  Microsoft was never penalized for that little incident.
An mp3 player is infinitely easier and faster to design than an entire operating system.  Also, it never said that Jobs was even ever shown anything under NDA.  It’s like someone talking to Larry Ellison at a trade show and saying how cool their database is, but writing their own.  Who cares.  If they didn’t even have access to nda type information, they developed it on their own.
I’m not a lawyer but it seems like its pretty shaky legal ground, especially because how *else* would you design an mp3 player without heirarchical menus.  Sheesh!

Posted by Jeremy on June 12, 2006 at 10:58 AM (CDT)


I should sue Creative. Years ago, I developed a way to organzie my records alphabetically by artist. It was so sucessful, I now organize my CD collection the same way.

Posted by Arne on June 12, 2006 at 4:14 PM (CDT)


I would hope Apple/Jobs would learn something from Microsoft/Gates after they(M/G) invested $400M into Apple a couple of years ago.

Posted by Heinrich on June 12, 2006 at 9:17 PM (CDT)


“I should sue Creative. Years ago, I developed a way to organzie my records alphabetically by artist. It was so sucessful, I now organize my CD collection the same way.”

That is the only reason I support Apple on this case. They didn’t infringe, since the concept it public domain. Have you guys even seen the original Nomad’s GUI? Looked nothing like the iPod’s. Well, now it does, since Creative ripped off Apple’s GUI. Now hows that for irony? Explain that Creative.

Posted by minty on June 13, 2006 at 3:37 AM (CDT)


Can we get some patent reform already?!?!

Heirarchical menus?  Like on my TiVo, high-end washer/dryers, the navigation systems in cars, thousands of pieces of computer software before/after the patent?  Icons on the menus!?!  Do I even need to go there?  Enough already.

Jeremy, if you get a patent on this Alphabetical by Artist process that you’ve invented & hire a team of lawyers, you might never have to work another day in your life.  If you ask me, it’s brilliant.  Patent now, sue later.

If necessity is the mother of invention, patents are the abusive alcoholic step-fathers that won’t let you invent anything.


Posted by scott on June 13, 2006 at 9:28 AM (CDT)


Despite the fact that the zen patent is somewhat broad and can be used by all players, creative still has the patent over it. I dont get why you all dont see that. Sure its a broad   type of organizing music files, but there are other ways. When some of you say hierarchal system, creative is referring to the “genre, artist, album” sorting feature. They patented that idea, won the patent, and now has the rights over it. Apple could have simply done a file tree system. So, i think creative should win.

But on the other hand, i do think creative’s zen patent is quite broad, but at the time, ipods and other mp3 players didnt exist as much as today. Such an idea would seem deserving of a patent.

I think if you want to comment, you need to take in the legal aspects of it too. You cant just say your opinion and have it negated by the legal aspects of it. Read flatlines response’s comment.

Posted by jonathan on June 13, 2006 at 11:19 AM (CDT)

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