View Full Version : Creative gets patent on user interface in media players

Aug 30, 2005, 07:27 AM
The US patent office has granted a patent on "Automatic hierarchical categorization of music by metadata" to Creative Technology LTD. The patent describes "A method, performed by software executing on the processor of a portable music playback device, that automatically files tracks according to hierarchical structure of categories to organize tracks in a logical order. A user interface is utilized to change the hierarchy, view track names, and select tracks for playback or other operations."


However, the patent on integrated malware technology "A method that allows malicious code to be spread over a portable media player" is yet to be granted:


Aug 30, 2005, 10:55 AM
You beat me


Aug 30, 2005, 10:55 AM
What does this imply?

According to the BBC website:

"The patent covers how files on a music player are organised.

Creative was one of the first companies to produce MP3 players but has lost out to Apple which dominates the market.

The Creative announcement is the latest salvo in its self-declared war against Apple.

In November, Creative boss Sim Wong Hoo said he aimed to out market his competitors, saying the MP3 war had started."

I'd like to understand what this means to Apple.

Aug 30, 2005, 11:20 AM
I would like to see some screenshots of this 2000 Nomad interface.

Aug 31, 2005, 01:05 AM
I forgot the other comment in the BBC article

"Creative said the patent applied to its players, as well as some competing products such as the Apple's iPod and iPod mini. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4198360.stm) "

Can this mean that Creative have won the patent for the navigation system used in the iPod? If so, what does this mean for Apple? Also, how insane is that patent?

Aug 31, 2005, 11:58 AM
I assume that they could charge Apple to license this patented idea or refuse to license it ...... which begs the question - what would Apple do.

Creative would kill the iPod - maybe.

Aug 31, 2005, 12:00 PM
Apple will tell Creative to **** and fallback in their pants because there's no way the creator of the most successful mp3 player in history will bow down to Creative.

Okay, that was harsh, my sister has a zen and it's wonderful, but nonetheless patenting something like this is garbage.

Aug 31, 2005, 12:56 PM
I kind of doubt that something like heirarchical menus could totally be patented, considering how long its been around. Pretty much every digital device that holds files is navigated this way.

Aug 31, 2005, 01:32 PM
The patent may seem like a stinking pile of dog poo - but Creative have it and their boss Sim Wong Hoo did declare the war of MP3 players. I don't think he is very keen on the iPod.

psycho bob
Aug 31, 2005, 04:06 PM
They should have just stuck to computers lol :rolleyes:

With M$ winning a patent for the use of a scroll navigation device and now Creative getting this Apple don't really have any patented technology in the iPod at all. M$ have said that they don't want to force Apple into anything and the two companies have always shared technology but this latest creative patent is potentially far more damaging.

This would also effect Philips, Dell, Rio etc who all use similar navigation methods, hell there are only so many ways to browse names after all.

If Creative did push Apple to cough up or cease the use of the patented technology (if Apple are indeed effected) then I don't really know where that leaves our fave fruit. In theory the iPod is so much of a cult device Apple could completely reinvent it with a new interface and navigation (touch screen, graphical etc) and it would most likely still sell but prices would likely go up and userbility is being sacrificed in order to just be able to make the thing.

Granted Apple were late on the MP3 scene but to be beaten to crucial patents by M$ for a device that is so important to the comany really makes me laugh. Apple legal can take some tennager to court for spreading news we would all know in a few weeks but can't potentially keep them from losing control of the most important device in their history :confused:

Aug 31, 2005, 07:20 PM
I don't see how this patent will fly. The iPod interface is essentially a Miller Column Browser (the "column view" in OS X's Finder). The only difference is that it always only shows 1 column at a time.

The MCB has been around since the 1960's. And I doubt Creative has a claim to it. Though, the guy who created Xanadu might. But you'd think he or Miller would have pursued NeXT in the 90's, or OS X in the last 5 years, if they were going to. Or pursued Xerox for using it in Smalltalk. So, whoever DOES have a claim to owning the MCB style interface has probably long since lost it through lack of enforcement.

Now, if it's over the organization of "artist > album > song" ... well, then, I still don't see that holding up in court. I think that's an incredibly natural hierarchy for organizing music. But, that's a harder case to push. It's more subjective than objective, and therefore more subject to interpretation on the part of the judge/jury.

Sep 1, 2005, 04:47 AM
Maybe Creative are just after a bit of publicity.