Apple coughs up $100m to Creative for iPod patent

Written by Wil Harris

August 24, 2006 // 10:04 a.m.

Tags: #100m #apple #creative #cupertino #ipod #lawsuit #mp3 #steve-jobs #zen

Apple has backed down and thrown a bunch of money at Creative to make its patent lawsuit go away.

$100m has been transferred from Apple's coffers to Creative's rapidly-swelling bank account. Creative had a patent for a hierarchical menu interface which it claims Apple copied in the iPod. Creative deployed it first in the Zen Jukebox, the first hard drive-based MP3 jukebox.

(Remember that? It was about the size of a CD player).

Had the case gone to court, a judge could conceivably have forced Apple to withdraw the iPod from sale. This would not have been a good thing for Apple, which owes its recent rejuvenation to its massively popular music player.

Apple has agreed to drop its counter-suit against Creative, and will also let Creative put a 'Made for iPod' logo on its range of speakers, headphones etc.

This is a massive climbdown for the Cupertino firm. Steve Jobs released a through-gritted-teeth press release, saying that "Creative is very fortunate to have been granted this early patent." Fortunate Steve? Fortunate that it invented digital jukeboxes before you? Try "clever"!

So, all is well and good in iPod land, and the most potentially ground-shifting legal case of recent months comes to something of a squibbish end. Let us know your thoughts over in the forums.

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