Creative Snags Crucial MP3 Player UI Patent

In a stunning move that is sure to put the hurt on Apple Computer, Creative Labs has been awarded a patent for the UI it uses in its Nomad line of portable digital audio players. Apple had applied for a patent for the same UI because it uses a very similar system in its market-leading iPod devices. There's just one problem: Creative's devices were on the market over a year before Apple launched the iPod, and Creative filed for its patent first, so Apple's request was rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). But Apple could now face an even more serious problem. Creative has earmarked Apple as the first company to be in violation of its UI patent, and it intends to protect that patent. Whether that means Creative will seek a retroactive payment for each iPod sold is unsure, but the company could certainly do worse. Expect Apple to delay any such payout by petitioning the USPTO for a recount. Hey, it worked for George W. Bush

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