Creative files patent suit against Apple

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Creative files patent suit against Apple

Creative Technology, the distant number 2 to Apple Computer in the digital music player market, said it filed patent complaints against Apple in federal court and with a US trade agency.

Creative Technology, the distant number 2 to Apple Computer in the digital music player market, said it filed patent complaints against Apple in federal court and with a US trade agency.

Singapore-based Creative also said it had filed a lawsuit against Cupertino, California-based Apple in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging violation of the company's "Zen" patent.

The US Patent Office issued the Zen patent to Creative on August 9, 2005. Creative said it covers the software menus users navigate to find and play back music on most portable digital media players, including Creative's Zen and Nomad brands as well as Apple iPod devices.

The struggling company seeks an injunction and increased damages for what it claims is Apple's "willful infringement of the Zen patent." Several Creative engineers working in California filed the patent application on January 5, 2001.

Creative said it had filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission asking the agency to probe whether Apple has violated import laws by selling iPod and iPod Nano music players that infringe on Creative's Zen patent.

Creative said it is seeking an exclusion order and cease-and-desist order against Apple that would prohibit it from selling, marketing or importing into the United States its products.

A spokesman for Apple was not immediately available to comment. Creative has been threatening action against Apple since shortly after it received the patent.

Creative shares are trading at 4-1/2 year lows. Earlier this month, it reported a quarterly loss that it blamed on a plunge in music player prices and the need to write down unsold inventory.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. Click for Restrictions



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