Apple faces iPod, iTunes patent violation claims

Apple has found itself facing a pair of intellectual property challenges that separately claim its FairPlay DRM system and its iPod music player contain technologies to which the Mac maker does not have a right. First up, Lake Forest, Illinois-based Advanced Audio Devices (AAD) alleges its patent, number 6,587,403, for a "music jukebox", filed in August 2000 but granted in July 2003, covers the kind of thing Apple has brought to market as the iPod.

According to the patent's abstract, AAD's concept covers a "music jukebox which is configured for storing a music library". The device includes a "housing, audio input structure... for receiving audio signals, and a data storage structure... for storing audio signals". The key words here are "audio signals" - do the iPod's digital audio files count as received and/or stored signals? The iPod shipped in November 2001, but it was by no means the first device to store digital music. Diamond Multimedia's Rio - not the first, but certainly the best-known MP3 hardware pioneer - launched in 1998, long before the AAD patent. It too could be said to store a music library, albeit a small one.

News source: The Register

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