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Old 09-01-2005, 08:48 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Apple accused of violating the Zen Patent

It's not a secret that Creative Technology has been struggling to match the success of the iPod. Instead of making better MP3 players, the company could now simply sue Apple for using its recently patented technology for finding songs. NYT Online writes:

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Creative Technology, a maker of portable music players, has accused Apple Computer of violating a newly granted software patent covering the way users navigate music selections. [It] said it would consider every option available to defend the patent, including possible legal action. Apple declined to comment on the patent.
So here is another example of how absurd software patents (covering laughably obvious ideas) threaten to devastate America's computer industry. Pamela Jones, who runs Groklaw said in 2004:

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"Software patents will destroy the industry in the U.S.," wrote Jones on Sunday. "The rest of the world will out-innovate U.S. companies, because they won't be running with the patent ball-and-chain attached to their ankles, holding them back.
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Old 09-01-2005, 11:46 AM   #2
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I agree with Pamela Jones, but a part of me can't seem to shed a tear for lawsuit happy Apple.
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Old 09-01-2005, 12:47 PM   #3
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<sigh> I'm getting tired of feeling myself change views on patents.

I remember back when Microsoft stole the GUI from Apple (yes, I'm aware of the Xerox story). I thought, "go get 'em!"

But, it's gone to far...by EVERYONE. One-click purchase? Song-search? It's one thing to create an operating system and want to protect it, but whose great idea was it to provide all-encompassing patents on individual FEATURES?

There needs to be something in the law that states you can't just wait until something is successful before pulling the patent-card at least. This whole, "let's only attack the one who has made money for the last three years so we can charge them 30 million dollars" is stupid. The iPod has been out for a long time. Apple has not budgeted for "gotcha" legal suits. Anybody who thought that it infringed on patents should have complied within 6 months. After that...too bad! People are spending too much time trying to bend their own patents to apply to successful merchandise so they can make a buck.

An alternate solution would be to require that licensing fees will only apply from the date that the patent-infringement accusation was submitted. Any devices sold prior to that do not apply.

- Jim
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Old 09-01-2005, 12:54 PM   #4
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Oh, and just to comment on Apple: yes, I'm a Mac-user, but even I recognize that Apple has been just a tad too patent-happy lately. I mean, remember when the first iMac came out, so Apple started suing everyone who made a clone of the machine? You put the CPU into the monitor....big deal. I've seen that before on dedicated machines.

But, you have to admit that Apple tends to be "first" in a lot of concepts that get copied throughout the industry. I imagine that Mr. Jobs gets a little tired of that.

Ah well...I have to expect that Apple is a corporation just like Microsoft, Sony, Intel, and IBM.

- Jim
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