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Wednesday, June 07, 2006, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Hostility mounts as Apple slams Creative with second suit

Apple Computer has upped the ante in its fierce and bitter legal battle with rival digital audio player maker Creative Technology, filing a second counter-suit in the United States.

The latest filing, made by Apple last Thursday in a Texas district court, alleges that Creative has and continues to infringe on three more of its patents — one for the display of condensed data sets on a computer, another dealing with the editing of data on a portable media device, and a third for the creation and representation of icons to organize files on a computer system.

In the 8-page complaint, the iPod maker said "Creative has caused Apple substantial damage and irreparable injury by its infringement" and that it "will continue to suffer damage and irreparable injury" unless a court steps in.

The company is seeking cash damages "adequate to compensate for Creative's infringement" and a court order banning further patent infringements.

Apple's first counter-suit was filed last month in a district court in Wisconsin and charged Creative with infringing on four of its patents.

The suits are in response to complaints filed by Creative in federal court and with the U.S. International Trade Commission. In those complaints, the Singapore-based company sought an injunction and increased damages, as well as a cease-and-desist order that would prohibit Apple from importing iPods into the United States.

Reuters in its own report points out that Apple's second counter-suit was filed in a district court in Texarkana, Texas, which handles a disproportionate share of major patent cases in the United States.

Legal experts told the publication that that patent trials put before juries in that court have favored patent holders — suggesting that Apple has chosen the venue as a means to put pressure on Creative to settle the patent dispute quickly.