Blogs ahead of newspapers on iPod story
From the Post:
The iPod accounts for 75 percent of all MP3 players sold in the
United States, according to NPD Group Inc. in Port Washington, N.Y. Cupertino,
Calif.-based Apple has shipped 21.8 million iPods since Jobs introduced
the player in October 2001, with 18.1 million units sold in the past four
"Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the
Microsoft patent application cited by the examiner was filed," Apple
spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said yesterday in a statement. The company has received
other patents related to the iPod and has other patents pending on the
device, she said.
Apple's application, filed a year after the iPod was introduced,
was rejected July 13. The documents do not identify the iPod by name, a
common omission in such petitions [?; the document in question is a patent application]. It describes a "portable, pocket-sized
multimedia asset player" capable of managing MP3 music files including "a song
title, a song artist, a song album, a song length."
The Washington Post noted: The rejection was reported Tuesday by AppleInsider.com.
The San Francisco Chronicle also had a story on August 12. Some of the text:
But for now, the latest decision does give a boost to Microsoft and
the makers of portable music players that connect with the software giant's
Windows Media Player.
"At the very least, (the rejection) can make it harder for Apple to
protect their interface against competitors with (similar software). The worst
case is if someone else has the patent, they can sue Apple for infringement,"
said Ross Rubin, an analyst at the industry research firm NPD Group.
Although Apple wasn't the first to make and sell portable digital
music players, iPod's sleek design and user-friendly controls have helped
make it by far the most popular player on the market.
About one-third of Apple's revenue is associated with iPod sales.
But Apple's legal headache could have been easily avoided if the
firm had simply filed the patent application early.
Although Apple introduced the iPod in November 2001, the firm
didn't file a provisional patent application until the following July, and a full
application was filed in October 2002.
"It is a little bit odd that (Apple) didn't file at least the
provisional application earlier," said Colby Springer, an intellectual property
attorney at Carr & Ferrell in Palo Alto.
However, Springer believes Apple may successfully argue that the
details of the iPod were made public prior to Platt's patent application.
In fact, one of the supporting documents Apple has filed with the
patent office is the firm's press release, dated November 2001, announcing the
"My guess is that the (patent official) may have just skipped over
that declaration," he said.
One day earlier, August 11, the Seattle Times had a story with the text:
Microsoft said Apple Computer's best-selling iPod music player will
face increased competition from new products in the end-of-year shopping
Microsoft is working with electronics makers including Royal Philips
Electronics, Samsung Electronics and Creative Technology to design and
test music players that rival iPod, said Erik Huggers, head of Microsoft's
Digital Media Division.
"Come this fall there is going to be a number of devices that get
close to competing with Apple's iPod," Huggers said yesterday in San Francisco.
By the second quarter of next year, "There is going to be a whole lineup of
products that can compete with Apple in industrial design, usability,
functionality and features."