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Japanese Court Rules Apple's Click Wheel Infringed Japanese Patent

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It's being reported today in Japan that the Tokyo District Court has ordered Apple to pay US$3.35 million in damages to Japanese inventor Norihiko Saito for patent infringement involving iPod music player. Update 7:30 PM PST

Japan's Kyodo News reports that the patent that Saito's company applied for in 1998 covers a technology for the click wheel controller that Apple has used for its iPod player in Japan since 2004. The damage amount was based on the volume of past sales and is far less than the $101.56 billion claimed by Saito.


Saito filed an application with Tokyo Customs for an injunction against iPod imports for the patent infringement in 2007, said the report.


Update: Currently Apple holds a minimum of two granted patents relating to the clickwheel (one, two). Whether Apple will appeal the decision is unknown at this time.


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I've heard that floating around the Apple blogosphere too, David, but I've yet to see Phil's name on a patent verifying that. That's not to say that he wasn't involved in the process between marketing and the engineering teams. But I'm not aware of anything official on that.

For interest sake, a link below to Wikipedia points to a UK company who sued Apple about the clickwheel way back in 2005:

There's no doubt Apple has patents on the clickwheel as it pertained to the iPod. How this will all play out over time is unknown at present.

I thought Phil Schiller designed the Clickwheel. Yes, no?

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