Danit Lidor reports at Forbes.com:
The "breaking news" e-mail alert issued to reporters Tuesday morning by Creative Labs was bound to attract attention.
It trumpeted news that the company had received a patent for an important interface used in portable media players. The alert named Apple Computer four times, noting that Creative Labs had applied for its patent well before Apple’s iPod hit the market. The implication, as subtle as a freight train, was that Creative planned to assert its patent against Apple.
The news alert included instructions for an afternoon conference call, presumably to discuss the matter with Creative executives. This was big news and scads of reporters, including many from the national media, were lured into calling. But rather than discuss what was promised, Creative used the opportunity to shill for a new line of handheld digital entertainment products, which were barely mentioned in the patent news alert.
Since Creative itself stoked the flames by naming Apple and the iPod in the headline of its news release, the company was repeatedly asked whether it planned to sue Apple to recover royalties. But McHugh stayed on message, preferring instead to leverage its captive audience by discussing its upcoming products.
Creative refers to its patent, awarded earlier this month, as the "Zen" patent, which is the same name as the new Zen Vision and soon-to-be-released Zen Micro Photo portable media gadgets. The patent covers the intuitive progression from one screen to a more specific next one; for example, drilling down from the main menu to specific artists and genres.
The patent was awarded Aug. 9, 2005. McHugh wouldn't comment on why Creative waited three weeks to make the announcement. McHugh did say Creative would likely take action to protect its patents, but he provided few specifics.
Bill Dyszel of PC Magazine reports at ABC News.com that there may be more fire than smoke in Creative Labs announcement.
Read Creative's Zen patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,928,433).