Creative, the company that produced the first hard-drive MP3 player, has won a patent that could see Apple pay its rival millions of dollars for the right to sell iPods.
The Nomad Jukebox (pictured) - known in Europe as as the DAP – was Creative's first hard-drive MP3 player, released in 2000. It was a firm Stuff favourite, and comprised the centre of our office sound system until the smaller, slicker iPod stole our hearts when it was launched in 2001.
Creative applied for a patent for the Nomad's user interface back when the product was released. Apple subsequently attempted to patent the iPod's menu system in 2001, but its application was rejected.
It's the second patent blow for Apple in less than a fortnight - Microsoft recently revealed it had sneaked in a patent application for iPod-style scrollwheel, and it had been granted because Apple had been tardy in submitting its own application.
It seems that Apple's rivals have decided that if you can't beat 'em, you'd better take a cut of their profits. And with iPods now providing one third of Apple's revenues, that's a big cut,