Creative Seeks Bite from Apple’s iPod

MP3 player maker Creative Technology claims Apple’s iPod infringes on one of its patents, and is asking a trade commission and federal court to halt sales of the popular music player in the U.S.

Creative filed a patent infringement complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, asking the body to prohibit importation and sale of the Apple iPod and iPod Nano music players.

Creative, whose Zen and Nomad MP3 devices compete with Apple’s iPod players, asked the commission to investigate whether Apple violated the 1930 Tariff Act by importing products that infringed on its technology from China.

Creative said in a statement it has held the U.S. Patent 6.928,433 (Zen patent), which describes how users navigate digital music devices, since last year.

“The iPods and iPod Nanos sold by Apple are specifically configured to access and display music loaded by the user in ways that infringe,” the Scotts Valley, Calif., company said.

Apple could not be reached at press time.

In the complaint, Creative wrote that, after a 2001 meeting where Apple expressed interest in working together, “Apple abruptly indicated there was not enough financial room in the portable digital media player market for two companies.”

Soon after, Apple introduced the iPod with its thumb-wheel navigation, Creative claimed.

A California federal judge must also decide whether to grant Creative an injunction against Apple, as well as impose damages for what Creative calls “willful infringement of the Zen patent.”

This isn’t the first time Apple’s iPod has faced litigation.

Last month, countersued Apple, claiming the iPod infringed on technology used to download video and audio.

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