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Apple loses out on shuffle fight, faces countercharge

Posted: 26 Feb 2007  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MP3 player  Apple  Cisco  Luxpro  Alcatel-Lucent 

Luxpro's version of the shuffle

The end eludes the shuffle saga—a.k.a. Apple Inc.-Luxpro Corp. infringement battle. The duel between the two companies, which started two years ago, continues until now, this time, with the tables turned—as Luxpro receives a favorable higher court ruling and countercharges Apple with $100 million compensation damages. The higher court in Taiwan found that Luxpro's products distinguishes itself from Apple's now-defunct iPod shuffle in terms of the tricolor OLED screen, FM radio and Luxpro logo on the player.

A flashback: In 2005, Apple filed a suit at the Shihlin district court against Luxpro for releasing a 'near carbon-copy' device of its first-generation iPod shuffle, which the Taiwan manufacturer exhibited at the 2005 Cebit tradeshow. Apple pressed on with the charges, claiming that the Luxpro's music player is a 'copycat' of the company's iPod shuffle design—both are made of white plastic, weigh the same and with near-similar dimensions—8.4 x 2.5 x 0.84mm for the shuffle vs. 8.5 x 2.5 x 0.97 for the Super Shuffle.

The district court ruled in Apple's favor, granting an injunction that prohibited Luxpro from selling the Super Shuffle, which was then renamed Tangent and came in three flavors—Super Tangent, Top Tangent and EZ Tangent.

Luxpro appealed to the high court, which reversed the earlier decision. In a no-surprise move, Apple filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court and Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission, which sustained the high court's order favoring Luxpro. The Fair Trade Commission said that Luxpro's product was 'not in contravention of the Fair Trade' act.

Luxpro released a two-page statement afterward signed by its chairman Wu Fu-Ching.

Wu announced Luxpro's plans to market their products again and are now in discussion with retailers. Luxpro started selling its products in Japan and Thailand again and eyes to return to the U.S. and Europe markets as well.

What's next in this shuffle adventure? Stay tuned.




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