Patent Suit Filed Against Apple Over iTunes Interface


macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 10, 2004
New Orleans / Lafayette, La
Apple Sued over iTunes UI


I think this suit screams extortion. There are some similarities, but there are only so many ways of displaying music info. Also the search method also in the suit is a standard view of a file system used on many systems.

This is garbage.


macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
Boston, MA
my itunes looks quite different from their example. they seem to have dragged the menues and windows in a way that the look at least similar to their software. i doubt that such a broad patent is valid anyway. they just try to get some money out of apple.

well, if you can't earn or marry the money you have to sue for it.


macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
iTunes has been out for how long?
4 or 5 years?

Should've brought your lawsuit when it first came out if it infringed your patent.

Though it sound a lot like way back when when Apple sued MS for taking elements of the GUI....karma sucks, doesn't it Apple? :rolleyes: ;)


macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
Daveway said:

I think this suit screams extortion. There are some similarities, but there are only so many ways of displaying music info. Also the search method also in the suit is a standard view of a file system used on many systems.

This is garbage.
Below are a side-by-side images of the two products posted on the website:

For the life of me, I see many more similarities between the plaintiff's player and other Windows-based MP3 players than iTunes. This suit is going nowhere.


macrumors 68040
Oct 24, 2002
The West Loop
Daveway said:
How could the plaintiff be loosing lots of money if he doesn't even have a physical product?

Opportunity cost.

The plaintiff claims loss of income due to the fact that he feels he should be earning the money and not someone else

Let's put ourselves in the shoe of this guy for a sec, you build this idea - and actually displayed it in a few places, then some year later, an idea that is eerily similar to yours is released. Imagin how that would feel.

His mockup looks like a mirror image of iTunes - and he's been writing Apple on this for a few years now, so it's not like this what is known as "Ambush Litigation". It looks like it's just that now there is a suit - and the news yelled it all over the place.

there might actually be a case here.


macrumors bot
Apr 12, 2001

AppleInsider reports that Contois Music Technology, run by David Contois, filed suit Monday against Apple for patent infringement based on the iTunes interface. David Contois and family run eMusicGear.

According to the suit, persons who were at the time employed by, or later became employed by, Apple were present at both trade shows and viewed Contois' software. The suit charges Apple later "copied" the invention and used the design ideas in the interface for its iTunes software.

Specifically, Contois documented 19 interface aspects of the iTunes software which it claims are in direct violation of its patent. These areas include iTunes' menu selection process for allowing the user to select music to be played, 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.​
From Patent #5,864,868:

January 26, 1999 (filed February 13, 1996)
David C. Contois

Computer control system and user interface for media playing devices

A computer system and method for controlling a media playing device. The system provides a user interface for allowing a user access to media pieces stored in a media database. The interface is also for controlling a media playing device, like a player piano or movie playing video device, that is coupled to the computer to play the accessed or selected piece of media. In one embodiment there is a computer interface that allows a user to display only music that relates to a selected category, like jazz or classical music. Another embodiment allows the user to direct the media playing device to automatically play selected music pieces that are related to a selected music category. Another embodiment allows a user to direct the media playing device to automatically play selected music pieces that are related to the selected music composer or artist.​
According to this blog, the suit was filed Monday June 13.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2003
I hope apple fight this, it sounds like a very vague patent. Any why sue now? ITunes has been out since 99 or so right? Sounds like a submarine patent.

Step 1: Patent some thing vague
Step 2: Wait until someone make something even remotely close
Step 3: Wait until they made alot of money
Step 4: SUE


macrumors 68000
Jun 30, 2003
Motor City
Ill jump on this bandwagon too..where was this lawsuit 5 years ago?

maybe apple should start sueing grocery stores for unauthorized distribution...

flipping IDIOTS!


macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2003
San Francisco, California
Seems like a little late for them to be suing Apple. Is there really a benefit for them to sue besides publicity? I mean come on, iTunes has been out for a long time, it can't be like they just noticed this.


macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2004
after this gets thrown out, i hope Apple can counter sue

How can vague patents like this ever be granted? How stupid :(


Don't other media players infringe this patent?

grrr. :rolleyes:

And now Apple has to waste money on lawyers to defend themselves.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2003
Yet another over-generalised patent

Sigh, yet another example of why patent & copyright laws need updating for software :(


macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2003
Buffalo, NY
I'm going to patent this:

A software program that organizes and distributes content on or to an electonic device, with controls and functionality built into an interface that allows a user to navigate the program.

Brilliant! Now everyone can pay me too!!



macrumors 6502a
Nov 19, 2003
Yeah that really is the vaguest patent I've read in a long time, and that side-by-side matchup is nowhere close. Even though I like Apple, I think it's fair to say this just seems unfounded (beyond $$$ of course).

Thank god iTunes doesn't look like the one on the left...ick.


macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2005
Gah! Plymouth
utterly ridiculous what greedy people who have nothing better to do, actually succumb to, humanity really is ******* itself more and more each day.

at least there are some of us that actually care about others instead of just money like this person, truly shameful.

why don't we just email him asking him why he is a gold-digger?

Doctor Q

Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
Los Angeles
Apparently you can patent the idea of sorting a displayed list by its various columns. Is it too late for me to get a piece of the action by patenting, say, sorting in reverse order?


macrumors member
Dec 20, 2003
This patent won't hold up due to prior art. There were similar players with the same functionality this patent describes years before he filed it.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2005
California, US
It does sound vauge but I went through the patent and saw the picure (also posted by Appleinsider I later found out) and it is very much the same picture!

I think apple will loose.