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Friday, December 09, 2005

Creative - The Lawyers, Yes - The Company? Not so Much ...

Creative, Inc. seems to be confused how to get out of the conundrum they are in - mainly as the leading Mp3 player for the WMA market ... which means their market share stands at about 5% of the overall portable mp3 marketplace.

They are considering suing Apple for royalties on 'navigation of music on a portable mp3 players.' That sentence is enough to cause a roar of laughter, slaps to the foreheads and brains to explode for a variety of reasons from the patents process 200 years out of date to just general disbelief. Of course, the legal merits are hard to say as the courts could and have ruled in both directions.

But of course, that's why companies have lawyers and will sue each other at the drop of a hat. Unlike some smaller companies who will settle for financial reasons, Apple is large enough to withstand any decision and rich enough to fight this for years.

But then as the "opening gambit" of their lawsuit/royalty process, they go and release a new line of MP3/WMA video players that gives new meaning to the word UNCANNY or as others might deem it - ripoff.

There are few clearer examples (short of a counterfeit factory cranking out Louis Vuitton's) of a violation of the "trade dress" protection laws (as legally defined - "Trade Dress is a distinctive, nonfunctional feature, which distinguishes a merchant's or manufacturer's goods or services from those of another.").

You have to ask yourself - why?

On the verge of suing a competitor for allegedly stealing their navigation system, they go and release a thicker but visually (from the front) a design that clearly copies the hardware and look of the competitors mp3 player?

What kind of strategy is that?

To settle? To "swap" Apple's alledged patent infringment for their trade dress "violation?"

I'm sure Apple is willing to let someone sell something that is visually and from 10 feet away 90% of an iPod ... that sure sounds like Steve Jobs and Apple to me ... bwahahahaha.

That sounds like something lawyers would dream up, this is brilliant, they'll be forced to settle ... of course, if they're wrong and bankrupt Creative, what do they care - they already have billed and been paid.

What does it really say about your business? The only way we can compete is by manipulation and legal manuvering? That the ipod simply cannot be out designed in any aspect so our ONLY recourse is to try and copy it in as many ways possible and then sit back and hope they settle with other legal manueverings that we're attempting?

Why would you name a company CREATIVE then?

Certainly the lawyers apparently running the company are creative but design, manufacturing and marketing - not so much?

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