Monday, December 12, 2005

Creative vs. the World

As you may have heard from the mainstream press, Creative Technology is threatening to sue all makers of portable music players over an interface patent that covers selecting songs hierarchically in a music player, e.g., by selecting genre, then artist, then album, etc.

Peter Zura is betting that they won't go after Apple's iPod, because Apple's patent portfolio is 5 times larger than Creative's. If Creative were to go after Apple, Apple could use their portfolio defensively in a counter-attack against any number of Creative devices, products, and technologies. But what about smaller companies that aren't as well endowed with patents? What about the startup with an absolutely phenomenal new way of listening to music that gets shut down by Creative? What about small inventors?

This is an excellent example of how our patent system works to benefit large corporations and disadvantages the independent inventor and small business. Only those with huge patent arsenals are allowed to play this game, and if you've only got a couple of handguns and rifles, well, good luck. You probably aren't any match for your opponent who has uranium-depleted armor-piercing automatic machine guns.


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