Monday, June 19, 2006

Man Claims iTunes Is His, But Why Did He Wait So Long To Claim It?

* Photo courtesy of About This Particular Mac

A few reports around the web have indicated that Apple is being sued by a Vermont man claiming that he patented the iTunes interface 2 years prior to Apple releasing it.

Well, if that is so ... then Cassady & Greene who created SoundJam MP created and patented the software and interface 3 years before Apple bought it. If you remember, Apple bought Soundjam MP from Cassady & Greene (which was a paid program) and turned it into a free program ...aka iTunes. iTunes has since been refined and honed in many ways.

The most ridiculous part of the patent claim made by David Contois, owner of Contois Music & Technology of Essex Junction:

"To select a song in a digital jukebox interface"

That's the patent!

So basically he was granted the ownership of a click!

Patent to be thrown out after Apple requests a review ... NEXT!

For a followup story and history on Apple's iTunes and Other MP3 player software for the Mac:

Audion Is Now Audioff

This lawsuit will be added to the Fix Your Thinking Reference Section: Your Rights, The Law, & Litigation. This section contains all known litigation Apple Computer has been involved in and is presently seeking to be resolved.


Anonymous said...

Cassady & Greene may have created SoundJam MP, but I believe SoundJam predated any relationship with C&G.

C&G were primarily re-developers. They'd find some moderately successful bit of Mac software, buy rights to it, market it better then the original lone author could, and hope to recoup their investment. Some products languished, others did well.

I seem to recall Soundjam being added to C&G's portfolio as another one of their licensing/buy-outs. Therefore it is entirely possible this fella has some claim to the code iTunes was built on. Or, from what I understand, he's not claiming the code itself but the IP embodied in it.

I expect Apple did their due-diligence when they bough SoundJam MP originally. However it could be there is some recent decision in a court somewhere supporting a retroactive claim to look & feel that might have relevance on this.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty broad patent. I seriously doubt that he has any claim to iTunes. Heck with a patent like that he could sue everybody.

Anonymous said...

C&G went bust not long after they said they couldn't compete with a certain company providing a look-alike "free" mp3 player.

If I remember correctly Apple hired the same developer behind C&G's SoundJam who rewrote it from scratch. (C&G weren't too happy about it.)

FYT said...

Apple Did buy out Soundjam and then almost completely rewrote it after version 1.0 of iTunes. The main reasons they bought it was A) To have almost no competition B) The visuals used a rather unique system for display and Apple didn't have the time to write an MP3 player from scratch.

From what I know this was a true inhouse devlopment from C&G ... but otherwise they were a "IP factory" like Connectix.

MacAMP (which became Macast) was the free alternative player and is the player I first started listening to MP3s with in 1996.