Apple is settling a patent dispute with Creative, the makers of rival digital player ZEN. According to reports, Apple will pay $100 million USD to Creative in an amicable solution to the patent infringement suit. Creative Technology owns U.S. patent 6,928,433 which protects an "Automatic hierarchical categorization of music by metadata". The patent covers:
"A method, performed by software executing on the processor of a portable music playback device, that automatically files tracks according to hierarchical structure of categories to organize tracks in a logical order. A user interface is utilized to change the hierarchy, view track names, and select tracks for playback or other operations."This patent can clearly be used by Creative against other portable players. It seems like Apple did the right thing in settling this potentially costly litigation.