Apple Files Second Counter-Suit Against Creative

Apple Computer filed a second patent infringement lawsuit in the United States against rival Creative Technology Ltd. The counter-suit come after Singapore-based Creative, the world’s distant number two MP3 player maker, filed patent complaints against Apple last month in a federal court and with a U.S. trade agency.

Apple filed its latest suit in a district court in Texas, claiming Creative has infringed at least three of its patents: one that involves displaying data on a computer, another for editing data using a portable media device, and the third for the creation of icons to organise files on a computer.

Apple is seeking cash damages and a court order to prevent further patent infringements, according to U.S. court documents seen by Reuters. Apple’s first counter-suit, filed last month in the district court in Wisconsin, alleged Creative had infringed four of its patents.

Many legal experts believe that patent trials put before juries in the court have favoured patent holders, suggesting that Apple has chosen the venue as a means to put pressure on Creative to settle the patent dispute quickly. In its lawsuit against Apple last month, Creative, known for its Nomad and Zen music players, sought an injunction and increased damages for alleged violation of its “Zen” patent. It also sought an exclusion order and a cease-and-desist order that would prohibit the U.S. firm from selling, marketing or importing its iPod players into the United States.

According to research firm International Data Corp., Creative was ranked second after Apple in the global flash memory-based MP3 player market in 2005, with a 4.7 percent share against Apple’s 16.9 percent, and was a distant number two in the hard-drive music player market with a 15.8 percent share against Apple’s 72.2 percent.

The Future: Apple is playing serious hardball against Creative with this second counter-suit. Apple’s deep pockets, feisty legal department and tenacity will be no match for Creative.

Author: FutureMusic

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