Shuffle Knockoff Maker Sues Apple

Taiwanese manufacturer Luxpro made headlines in March 2005 when it first showed off its first-generation iPod Shuffle clone at CeBIT. The company is now striking back, suing Apple for $100 million over lost sales.

Luxpro was emboldened by an appeals court decision which reversed an earlier ruling that the company had indeed infringed upon Apple's Shuffle design. Originally called the "Super Shuffle," Luxpro later changed the name to the Tangent in an attempt to avoid legal action.

The Shihlin District Court of Taiwan originally ruled in favor of Apple, saying "Luxpro should desist from manufacturing, selling, and advertising the said products." However, the company appealed, and won.

Apple disagreed with the ruling, and appealed to the Supreme Court of Taiwan. However, the nation's highest court upheld the appeals court verdict. Additionally, the company lost a complaint with Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission in October 2006.

In its suit against Apple, Luxpro levels some serious claims: one being that the company threatened retaliation during the court case against stores who carried the Tangent line with removal of its iPod products if Luxpro's player was not removed from shelves.

This resulted in lost sales, the company claims. "Luxpro resolved that although a tiny underdog in this fight, it will resolutely protect the company's interests, dignity, and seek to achieve fair and just treatment in the market," the company said in a statement.

Luxpro says that the Tangent line is substantially different from the first-generation Shuffle, through the addition of the Luxpro logo and an OLED display screen. But from a distance, most would not be able to tell a difference, as the front of the player is nearly identical to Apple's model.

Apple could not be reached for comment as of press time.

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