Apple loses iPod patent because of Microsoft?

Apple may have lost its attempt to patent the iPod software interface because long-time rival Microsoft had already filed a similar application. Bloomberg News reports that Microsoft’s patent application was filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office five months before Apple’s request, which was rejected last month.

“Apple plans to appeal the decision to ensure it won’t be forced to pay royalties to Microsoft on every iPod sale,” Bloomberg reports. “The decision could be a setback for Apple, which is also facing increased competition from Microsoft, which makes software for rival music players, and other companies that want to take market share.”

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said that Apple will continue to pursue the iPod patent. “Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the Microsoft patent application cited by the examiner was filed,

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