Creative says ITC probe under way against Apple [REUTERS]

balamw

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http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=governmentFilingsNews&storyID=2006-06-14T120440Z_01_N14193248_RTRIDST_0_TECH-APPLE-CREATIVE-UPDATE-1.XML
NEW YORK, June 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. International Trade Commission has launched a probe into whether Apple Computer Inc.'s (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) iPod digital music player infringes on a Creative Technology Ltd. (CREA.SI: Quote, Profile, Research) (CREAF.O: Quote, Profile, Research) patent, Creative said on Wednesday.

Creative filed a complaint alleging Apple imported into the United States and sold iPod devices that infringes on Creative's "Zen" patent, which covers the user interface in its Nomad and Zen portable digital media players.

Creative asked the ITC to issue a permanent exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order against Apple.

Representatives for Cupertino, California-based Apple were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

Creative said the case will be referred to Administrative Law Judge Paul Luckern, who will hold hearings and make an initial determination as to whether a violation was committed. The commission typically issues a ruling about 12 months to 15 months after an investigation starts.
The wording seems weird since the ITC should not be the ones that can judge infringement, and patent cases can take a lot longer than 12-15 months...

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Peace

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Creative is blowing negative smoke out it's ***..The ITC does not investigate and/or make decisions on patent infringements..The US Patent office does I believe..
 

balamw

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Peace said:
Creative is blowing negative smoke out it's ***..The ITC does not investigate and/or make decisions on patent infringements..The US Patent office does I believe..
Infringement is usually decided by US district courts.

EDIT: Here's what the ITC thinks they are doing:

http://www.usitc.gov/ext_relations/news_release/2006/er0612dd1.htm

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain portable digital media players. The products at issue in this investigation are MP3 players.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Creative Labs, Inc., of Milpitas, CA, and Creative Technology Ltd. of Singapore on May 15, 2006. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain portable digital media players that infringe a patent owned by the complainants. The complainants request that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders.

The ITC has identified Apple Computer, Inc., of Cupertino, CA, as the respondent in this investigation.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-573), the ITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The case will be referred to the Honorable Paul J. Luckern, an ITC administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. Judge Luckern will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.

The ITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. ITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.
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balamw

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Peace said:
Cool.Thanks.

How can an ITC administrative judge make a decision then if the district court does that.
http://www.itds.treas.gov/Sec337.htm

It's patently funny to see a Singapore based company making complaints on a US based one using an act whose intent is described as (acording to the Treasury Dept):

In general, Section 337 prohibits any unfair method of competition or unfair act in the importation of articles if the effect or threat of such importation is to destroy or to significantly damage a U.S. industry, prevent the establishment of an industry, or restrain or monopolize trade in the United States. Specifically, section 337 prohibits importation of articles that infringe a valid and enforceable United States patent, registered copyright, or registered trademark, as well as articles that are produced by means of a process covered by a valid and enforceable United States patent.
Seems like Apple's easiest workaround would be to use a US contract manufacturer (if they could find one)...

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