There are dozens of lawyers out there getting rich just from helping electronics companies sue each other over patent infringements. The latest target is Apple. Creative Technologies of Singapore has asked the International Trade Commission in the U.S. to halt all sales of iPods. Creative claims that the iPod infringes on a patent filed for its Zen Creative players. The patents in question deal with the user interface and the menus that users use to choose their songs to be played.
The Creative patent was granted on August 9, 2005, but was applied for several years earlier. It was, in fact, filed six months before Apple filed patents for their iPod. When you look at the menus for the two players, they do seem similar, but then they are just menus, so how different could they be?
Creative and Apple can be added to the long list of companies that are involved in patent disputes. That list is growing at a rate that is almost ridiculous, and the huge settlements received by NTP and others won’t slow it down any time soon.