Creative Accuses Apple of Violating Patent in iPod "Despite obvious examples of prior art, Apple attempted to patent the iPod user interface in October 2002. But Creative had applied for its MP3 player UI patent in January 2001, before Apple's iPod was even a rumor. Apple's patent request was denied.
Creative hasn't decided yet if it will sue Apple or attempt to collect license fees for Apple's use of Creative's patented design. The potential upside for Creative is huge: though sales of the company's MP3 player products are dwarfed by those of Apple (Creative has sold 6 million hard drive-based MP3 since 2000, while Apple sells that many each quarter), Creative could use this patent to take part financially in Apple's iPod success, which arguably was driven in large measure by the easy-to-use interface it allegedly copied from Creative."