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Apple sued over iTunes interface

Marc Perton
06.21.05
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iTunes Music StoreWe've seen a lot of oddball patent battles in recent years, mostly of the "business method" variety (remember when Amazon patented one-click ordering and sued Barnes & Noble to stop them from using it?) and here's another one to add to the list: Vermont-based Contois Music Technology is suing Apple, saying that the iTunes user interface violates a six-year-old patent that the company obtained for a "Computer Control System and User Interface for Media Playing Devices." According to the suit, Apple employees saw Contois' software at trade shows, and copied interface elements, including "the ability of the software to transfer music tracks to a portable music player, and search capabilities such as sorting music tracks by their genre, artist and album attributes." Somehow, we seem to remember seeing both software and hardware that could do those things a little more than six years ago (like, say, MusicMatch and WinAmp, circa 1997, and MP3 players from Eiger and Rio, which came out in 1998). But, hey, you can't blame Contois for trying. For all we know, they may be able to get a few hundred mil out of Apple just for bringing this up.

In this article: portable audio, portableaudio
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