Creative Technology, Ltd. (NASD:CREAF) yesterday filed a complaint against Apple (NASD:AAPL) with the United States International Trade Commission. Apparently, Creative, based in Singapore, says that it has a patent on the "look and feel" of how people use the controls on MP3 players to access music. Since Creative is not a fly-by-night operation (although its shares are at a 52-week low), the legal battle may be played out in U.S. court over a lengthy period.
Apple can now join the Microsoft (NASD:MSFT) club. Once a technology company becomes wildly successful, the "have-nots" want a piece of the action. If they cannot get it in the marketplace, why not try the courts?
For Microsoft, IP lawsuits became more than a nuisance. They have become a daily reality that hog-tied the company in several markets. Apple needs to hope that it is not facing a similar fate.
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Douglas A. McIntyre is the former Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Financial World Magazine. He is also the former president of Switchboard.com, which was the 10th most visited site in the world at the time, according to MediaMetrix. He has been chief executive of FutureSource LLC and On2 Technologies, Inc. and has served on the boards of TheStreet.com and Edgar Online. He does not own securities in companies he writes about. He can be reached at email@example.com.