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Monday, May 15, 2006, 01:45 pm PT (04:45 pm ET)

Creative seeks injunction against Apple

Creative Technology on Monday filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking an injunction against Apple Computer that would prohibit the company from importing its iPods, which are manufactured overseas, into the United States.

In the filing, the Apple rival requests an investigation into whether the iPod maker has violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing iPods into the US that allegedly infringe on Creative's digital music player patent (No. 6,928,433), referred to as the "Zen Patent."

Apple's iPods are designed at the company's Cupertino, Calif.-based design studios but manufactured at facilities in the Far East. Under Section 337 of Tariff Act of 1930, imported products that allegedly violate United States intellectual property rights can be barred from entry into the country.

Creative is seeking an exclusion order and cease and desist order against Apple, prohibiting it from engaging in the sale, marketing, importation or sale after importation of its flagship iPod and iPod nano players.

Also Monday, the company filed a lawsuit against Apple in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California seeking an injunction and increased damages for the iPod maker's "willful infringement of the Zen Patent."

The Zen Patent, which was awarded to Creative on August 9, 2005, is for the invention of the software interface used by the company in its Zen and NOMAD Jukebox MP3 players. Creative charges that Apple has used the same interface for its iPod, iPod nano and iPod mini players.