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It was just a matter of time before Creative Technology would make use of its granted patent on digital music player interfaces and perform a legal attack on arch-rival Apple Computer. On Monday the company said it had filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting an investigation that could lead to ban of Apple’s iPod music players from being sold in the U.S.

The United States Patent Office issued a patent 6,928,433 that Creative refers as “Zen patent” on August 9, 2005 for Creative’s invention of the user interface used by most portable digital media players, including many of the Creative Zen and Nomad Jukebox MP3 players and competing players such as Apple’s iPod, iPod Nano and iPod mini, the company indicated.

Creative said that the company’s engineers invented the portable digital music player interface in the company’s Scotts Valley, California facility in order to address the challenges of convenient organization and access of songs on high-capacity portable digital media players. Creative implemented its now-patented interface on its Nomad Jukebox player, which was announced and presented as a functioning prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2000. The user interface has since been implemented in a variety of Creative players, the most recent being the Zen Vision:M.

Creative said it had requested that the Commission institute an investigation of whether Apple Computer has violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 through its importation and sale after importation into the United States of iPods and iPod Nanos that infringe Creative’s “Zen patent”.

As relief, Creative is seeking an exclusion order and cease and desist order against Apple Computer. The orders sought would prohibit Apple Computer from engaging in sales, marketing, importation or sale after importation into the United States, or other infringing activities in the United States with regard to the infringing iPod and iPod Nano products, Creative said in a statement.

Creative Technology, who is the main competitor of Apple Computer in the market of digital music players, has posted losses in its most recent quarter. By suing the main rival, the company may return hope for a better future for its investors.

Creative also filed a lawsuit today against Apple Computer Inc. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California that seeks an injunction and increased damages for Apple Computer Inc.'s willful infringement of the Zen Patent.

Apple Computer so far has not comment on the accusations.


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