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Apple and Creative settle, Apple forks out $100m

Ryan Block, @ryan
08.23.06
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If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em, right? That's the American way, after all, and it's serving Singapore-based Creative very well. As some may well remember, not even four months ago Creative filed suit against Apple for violating their "Zen patent," which pertained to a hierarchical menu system for portable media players; Apple countersued Creative, and then in the true Jobsian style of raining down on his foes, launched a second suit pertaining to icons and data display and entry in such portable devices. (Apparently two other suits also went down behind the scenes.) Guess those didn't work too well, as today Apple announced they'd be handing over $100,000,000 US (would you look at all those zeroes?) to Creative to license the "technology" outlined in the Zen patent -- the exact amount Creative pledged to spend on advertising against the iPod in 2005. It also looks like Apple scored a deal wherein they'll recoup some of those costs if and when Creative extorts leverages the patent on other media player companies. But perhaps the most bizarre bit of all, Creative seems to be jumping right into bed with Apple now that their spat's over, and is now officially a Made for iPod program partner with iPod accessories expected this year. This abusive relationship is starting to turn a little weird, like divorced parents getting back together or something -- can't we just go back to the days when the two had nothing but vitriol and recrimination for one another? Still, gotta love the vaguely optimistic spin Jobs put on the sitch: "Creative is very fortunate to have been granted this early patent..." Yeah, we'd say you're damned right, Steve.

[Thanks, pspspsp, Ryan, and Roopesh]

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