Creative’s not so creative patent

Speaking of iPod (my I am just a fountain of words today), Creative Technology have been granted a patent for the entire concept of the typical MP3 player interface. You know, being able to select an artist, then an album, then songs on the album?

First, I STRONGLY have to question the actual relevancy that they created this. ID3 tagging (the metadata they refer to) has been around since the mid-90’s, and the ability to manipulate song lists based on that data has been around for nearly just as long on PC media players. So essentially Creative is saying they invented it for portable players, because they can’t be saying they created it in general.

So my question is, how does this fall under non-obvious when it comes to a patent? If it was around for years on earlier “devices” (PC software), doesn’t it make sense that as soon as portable processing was powerful enough to handle this it would happen?

The two theories on this are a) that Creative will use this simply as PR material for their MP3 player line, or b) that they will use this to receive licensing money from Apple. If it is simply (a) they want, more power to them. If it is instead (b), I hope they lose. If not this is more evidence that the US patent system is screwed up.

Can I patent being able to select a song by year?

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