Are Apple copying Creative?

AppleInsider links to drawings from Apple patent filings that indicate possible designs for the next iPod. One problem: at least one of them has been done before, by Creative, for its own products.

In the second row of drawings at the Apple Insider page, there’s a version of the Nano with a scroll-strip instead of the click wheel – a vertical strip, touch sensitive, that users will presumably slide their fingers up and down on.

Now compare the drawing to the Creative ZEN Vision:M – looks pretty similar, doesn’t it? The scroll strip on the Vision:M works by sliding you finger up and down it.

I honestly can’t see Apple being granted a patent for something that not only has such obvious prior art, but that’s used (and possibly patented) by it’s only major competitor in the market.

  • http://www.beckysweb.co.uk Becky

    I can’t see Apple abandoning the scroll wheel. It’s so iconic of the ipod, and it’s also much more efficient than a scroll strip.

    I’m sure that Creative would use a wheel too if Apple didn’t own the patent! :-)

  • Bobbsmithe

    It seems to me that Apple is trying to patent designs that other companies (Creative and Toshiba in particular) may use in the future. I have a Vision:M and it sure seems to me that Apples should start copying Creative, especially with all the video formats that Creative uses.

  • James Bailey

    You aren’t paying attention to the mess that is the US patent system apparently.

    One trick is to disclose all the prior art in a mountain of documentation. If you can get it past the overworked patent examiner then it becomes a defense in court. Patent examiners have incentives to process as many actions as possible in the shortest time. Apparently, one such action is to approve the submitters documentation.

    Apple’s patent attorneys know a lot more on how to game the broken US system than you or I will ever understand. If it is in the patent application, it is almost certainly patentable given some work by the lawyers.