Apple Click Wheel Patent Infringement Costs Apple $3.3 Million in Japan

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A Japanese court has ruled that the Click Wheel in Apple's iPod Classic infringes on a patent owned by Norihiko Saito and has ordered the company to pay Y330 million (about US$3,334,650) in damages. Mr. Saito filed his lawsuit against Apple in 2007 and was originally asking for Y10 billion (about $101,050,000) in damages -- a figure the court didn't agree with.

Apple hit with $3.3 million in Japanese patent infringement suitApple hit with $3.3 million in Japanese patent infringement suit

Mr. Saito claimed Apple's Click Wheel design, which allows an iPod user to navigate and select songs one-handed, copied from his patented design. He had been negotiating with Apple in in hopes of settling the lawsuit but chose to push up his damages request to Y10 billion when he wasn't able to reach a deal he liked, according to Dow Jones Business News.

The Click Wheel was a familiar sight on Apple's iPod product line for several years before the company transitioned to primarily touch-based interfaces for its mobile product lineup. The traditional Click Wheel is still available on the iPod Classic, which is also the only hard drive-based media player in Apple's product line, and the iPod shuffle's controls look similar to the Click Wheel without offering true Click Wheel functionality.

The damages order is still waiting the final ruling in the case, so once that's handled Apple will either have to pay the Y330 million or convince the court to change its mind.

Apple hasn't commented on the case, and presumably Mr. Saito is disappointed that the court decided the damages he was owed comes in well below the Y10 billion he wanted.

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Comments

geoduck

More impetus for Apple to drop the iPod Classic.

He had been negotiating with Apple in in hopes of settling the lawsuit but chose to push up his damages request to Y10 billion when he wasn’t able to reach a deal he liked, according to Dow Jones Business News

I wonder if the $3.3mil was what Apple was offering? Alternatively, maybe it was what he’d asked for and Apple balked so he went big and went to court.

mrmwebmax

+

Any idea when he started negotiating with Apple? He filed suit in 2007, which is years past when the click wheel debuted.

vpndev

Does Shuffle not have the same issue ??!??

Please don’t use this to kill Classic. Please.

At least, not until there is a similarly-priced 160 GB (or so) device available.

D R

He filed the patent back in ‘96, before the first iPod was released…so every iPod sold infringed [well, we can’t say for sure because the actual patent doesn’t seem to be publicly mentioned].  Right now, only the iPod classic still uses the clickwheel, but there have been approximate a zillion iPods with clickwheels of varying design sold in the past 15 years or so.

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