Skip to main content

Creative Labs Reborn As Patent Troll

Did we need any more proof that software patents are fundamentally broken? Probably not, but even so we're going to get some. Creative, the company formerly responsible for a number of media add-ons for PCs, has initiated a patent infringement against the whole Android OEM community, on the basis that their music players infringe on a Creative owned patent.
The infringement relates to selecting music from a hierarchical display of tracks. That is to say, a list which has been broken down by, for example, artist or album or even just by folder contents.
Now it seems highly unlikely that this is something innovative or unobvious, two tests that any patentable idea should be able to pass. Windows Media Player had this functionality back in the days of Windows 3, so long before Creative was on the scene. Prior art should surely defeat this particular claim.
If the US courts agree with Creative however, the company is likely to be in for a massive payday. And once it has bested Android OEMs presumably it will use its newly legitimised patents to go after Apple and Microsoft.