Japanese inventor wins suit against Apple

A Tokyo district court on Thursday ordered Apple to pay 330 million yen ($3.3 million) for infringing on patents by a Japanese inventor on the iPod’s iconic click wheel.

Norihiko Saito applied for the patent on the technology in 1998 which Apple introduced in its iPod lineup in 2004, reports Kyodo News.

Thursday’s court ruling came after a lengthy legal battle over the click wheels, which combines a circle touch sensor with multiple buttons.

Saito first went to court in 2007 to file an injunction against imports of iPod with the click wheel design, and later sued the company for 100 million yen (roughly $1 billion) in damages.

Apple filed its own suit to confirm that the feature did not infringe on exisiting patents.

After three rounds of negotiations failed, Saito raised his claim to 10 billion yen, a number based on the number of iPods using the feature that was sold.

Apple used the click wheel for the first time in the iPod mini, released in 2004. The feature was also used on the iPod Classic as well as the iPod Nano.

When the iPod Touch was introduced in 2007, Apple slowly began phasing out the click wheel with the advent of multitouch screens.

The iPod Classic, which has not seen a major design refresh, is the only iPod generation using the click wheel to this day.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image: Mac Users Guide/Flickr

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