Creative Sues Apple Over iPod

Facing increasing losses and running out of options in its battle against the iPod, Creative on Monday filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission and a lawsuit in United States District Court for the Northern District of California alleging patent infringement.

At issue is the so-called "Zen Patent," which Creative was awarded in August 2005. The company says that it engineered and demonstrated the interface that Creative's players, as well as competing players, use well before the first iPods were shipped.

Creative has asked the ITC to investigate whether or not Apple has violated tariff laws through the sale of iPods. Specifically, the company refers to the portion of the law that pertains to the prohibition of the importations and sale of products in the U.S. that infringe on another companies patents.

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The company has asked the ITC for both exclusion and a cease and desist order, which would essentially ban the sales of the iPod within the country. In addition, the suit in District Court asks for an injunction as well as unspecified monetary damages.

Apple is the number one music player in the world, holding nearly a 75 percent market share according to recent data from NPD Group. Creative, on the other hand, has struggled, counting for 2 to 3 percent of media player sales and fourth overall in market share.

The company's outspoken CEO Sim Wong Hoo made digital media players Creative's premier business two years ago in a bid to take on the iconic iPod. However, while vehemently defending his decision and products since then, none of the company's players have caught on with consumers.

In the most recent quarter, Creative reported a $114.33 million loss, which it largely blamed on its media player woes.

Asked to elaborate on why the company had filed the suit, Creative representatives refused to comment. "At this time we will not comment further on pending litigation," spokesperson Phil O'Shaughnessy told BetaNews.

A request for comment from Apple had not been answered as of press time.

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