Big news tonight. Apple won a $1 billion judgment against Samsung over infringement of its patents and design for the iPhone and tablet. But it’s not like Apple hasn’t been in the exact same position. In May 2006 they were sued by Singapore based Creative Labs, the company that actually invented the MP3 player and user interface. Creative applied for the patent in 2001 and won it in 2005, then turned around and sued Apple for stealing their ideas. Apple had to pay Creative $100 million in a settlement. Of course, Creative–which still makes MP3 players with far better sound than Apple–drifted away after that. A company with huge potential, especially when it came to putting superior sound in small devices, they never regained their footing. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be forgotten as the i-Fans pop Champagne corks that while Samsung may have copied their designs, Apple copied Creative’s schematics that make an iPod work in the first place.
Creative.com, by the way, still sells the company’s MP3 players, which used to be excellent. But after lawsuit and settlement, Creative went into the licensing business, and licensed Apple their patent. They were never the same again.