Creative Awarded U.S. Patent On Its Invention Of User Interface For Portable Media Players
ZEN Patent Granted for Invention of its User Interface for Portable Media Players Including Many of Creative's ZEN and NOMAD Jukebox MP3 Players and Found in Some Competing Players Such as the Apple iPod and iPod mini
Singapore - August 30, 2005
- Creative Technology Ltd. (NASDAQ: CREAF), a worldwide leader in digital entertainment products, today announced that it has been awarded U.S. Patent 6,928,433, which Creative is referring to as the ZEN Patent
. The ZEN Patent was awarded to Creative for its invention of the user interface for portable media players, including many of the Creative ZEN and NOMAD® Jukebox MP3 players, and found in some competing players, such as the Apple iPod and iPod mini. The ZEN Patent covers the user interface that enables users of portable media players to efficiently and intuitively navigate among and select tracks on the players. Creative applied for the ZEN Patent on January 5, 2001 and it was awarded on August 9, 2005.
Creative's invention for the user interface for portable media players enables selection of at least one track in a portable media player as a user sequentially navigates through a hierarchy using three or more successive screens on the display of the player. One example would be the sequence of screens that could display artists, then albums, and then tracks. When the user selects an artist, the player displays a list of albums for that artist. Selection of one of the listed albums then displays a list of tracks on the album.
The user interface covered by the ZEN Patent was invented by Creative research and development engineers in our Advanced Technology Center in Scotts Valley, California, said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO of Creative. The first portable media player based upon the user interface covered in our ZEN Patent was our NOMAD Jukebox MP3 player. We shipped the NOMAD Jukebox to U.S. retail customers in September of 2000, and by November of 2000, it was already ranked as the top revenue-generating product in the U.S. in the digital audio player category, according to PC Data. By January of 2001, we announced that we had already sold 100,000 NOMAD Jukeboxes. The Apple iPod was only announced in October 2001, 13 months after we had been shipping the NOMAD Jukebox based upon the user interface covered by our ZEN Patent.
I am very excited that we were awarded the ZEN Patent, which helps to protect our invention and recognizes our innovation in portable media players, said Sim. After a major investment of time and effort by a group of our research and development engineers, we developed a way for a user to efficiently and intuitively navigate and select tracks from a significant number of tracks stored on a player. Before this invention, there was no intuitive and efficient way to deal with the large number of tracks that could be stored on a high-capacity player.
There has been press coverage recently regarding the rejection of Apple's patent application, published as Pub. No. U.S. 2004/0055446 for a user interface in a multimedia player. This Apple patent application was filed on October 28, 2002. A related provisional application was filed by Apple on July 30, 2002, eighteen months after our filing date for the ZEN Patent and over twenty months after our NOMAD Jukebox based upon our user interface was on the market, added Sim.
We continue to innovate in digital media players with the introduction of the ZEN Vision, which adds high-quality video playback to its MP3 music and digital photo viewing features. The ZEN Vision, as well as the upcoming ZEN Micro Photo with a color OLED screen and many more new products, will be based upon the user interface covered by the ZEN Patent, noted Sim.
The full text and images of the ZEN Patent, U.S. 6,928,433 are available at www.uspto.gov by doing a patent number search under issued patents.
Creative (NASDAQ: CREAF) is a worldwide leader in digital entertainment products for PC users. Famous for its Sound Blaster® sound cards and for launching the multimedia revolution, Creative is now driving digital entertainment on the PC platform with products like its highly acclaimed MuVo® and ZEN portable audio players. Creative's innovative hardware, proprietary technology, applications and services leverage the Internet, enabling consumers to experience high-quality digital entertainment -- anytime, anywhere.
This announcement refers to products and pricing sold in the United States of America. Sound Blaster, MuVo and ZEN are trademarks of Creative Technology Ltd. in the United States and/or other countries. All other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective holder and are hereby recognized as such.
Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements:
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause Creative's actual results to differ materially. Such risks and uncertainties include: Creative's ability to timely develop new products that gain market acceptance and to manage frequent product transitions; competitive pressures in the marketplace; exposure to excess and obsolete inventory; accelerated declines in the average selling prices of Creative's products; Creative's ability to successfully integrate acquisitions; potential fluctuations in quarterly results due to the seasonality of Creative's business and the difficulty of projecting such fluctuations; possible disruption in commercial activities caused by factors outside of Creative's control, such as terrorism, armed conflict and labor disputes; a reduction in demand for computer systems, peripherals and related consumer products as a result of poor economic conditions, social and political turmoil; major health concerns; the proliferation of sound functionality in new products from competitors at the application software, chip and operating system levels; the deterioration of global equity markets; Creative's reliance on sole sources for many of its chips and other key components; component shortages which may impact Creative's ability to meet customer demand; Creative's ability to protect, enforce or exploit its proprietary rights; a reduction or cancellation of sales orders for Creative products; Creative's ability to successfully manage its expanding operations; the vulnerability of certain markets to current and future currency fluctuations; the effects of restricted fuel availability and rising costs of fuel; fluctuations in the value and liquidity of Creative's investee companies; and the potential decrease in trading volume and value of Creative's Ordinary Shares as a result of the Flow Back Restriction that commenced on June 1, 2003 and Creative's previous plan and any future plans to delist from NASDAQ and to eliminate its U.S. reporting obligations. For further information regarding the risks and uncertainties associated with Creative's business, please refer to its filings with the SEC, including its Form 20-F for fiscal 2004 filed with the SEC. Creative undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in Creative's expectations.