One of Apple's main rivals in the digital audio player market, Creative Technology, has been awarded a patent for the interface used on many players. Creative said the patent applied to its players, as well as some competing products such as the Apple's iPod and iPod mini.
Creative was one of the first companies to produce MP3 players but has lost out to Apple which dominates the market. The Creative announcement is the latest salvo in its self-declared war against Apple. In November, Creative boss Sim Wong Hoo said he aimed to out market his competitors, saying the MP3 war had started. Apple's iPod is estimated to account for 80% of sales of digital music players which use hard drives to store music.
Creative is looking to take a slice out of Apple with its new products. It recently introduced a new version of its Zen model which has a colour screen and can play video.
The question now is whether this patent will result in Apple grudgingly paying royalties to one of its biggest competitors.
News source: BBC News