Creative Technology has dozens, perhaps hundreds, of patents, so why did the Singapore company hold a media conference call last week about...

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Creative Technology has dozens, perhaps hundreds, of patents, so why did the Singapore company hold a media conference call last week about a recent one? Just to announce the patent, the company said. Oh, and maybe point out similarities between it and technology used in Apple Computer‘s iPod player.


Even when pressed repeatedly by journalists, Creative Labs President Craig McHugh would not say how, or even if, the company would pursue the matter with Apple.


“We’re not focused on the legal issue,” he said.


But that didn’t stop journalists from taking the bait. Articles about the announcement suggested that the patent could force Apple to pay Creative royalties on iPod sales. “Does Apple even own iPod?” Wired News asked.


Those were some pretty big leaps to make. Creative couldn’t have possibly wanted that to happen, could it?


Fighting words


Sony is tops these days when it comes to making unusually harsh comments about video-game rivals. It kept up its record recently, when Sony exec Phil Harrison called Nintendo irrelevant to its handheld-gaming plans.


“The idea of a handheld rivalry with Nintendo is an irrelevance,” Harrison was quoted in the European trade magazine MCV. “Those formats don’t appear in our planning. It’s not a fair comparison; not fair on them, I should stress. That sounds arrogant, maybe, but it’s the truth.”


Harrison went on to say that Nintendo’s target audience is “pretty much defined by a boy or girl’s ability to admire Pokémon,” and that Nintendo “stepped out of the technical race” with the touch-screen DS.


That has to irk Nintendo, which has gone to great lengths to tout the DS to older players. The company launched the DS with the “touching is good” theme and has run DS advertisements in Maxim about “how to score.”


Insane Mario?


Nintendo of America last week won a patent for a video game in which the main character’s sanity level is affected by events in the game.


The patent summary reveals there are deep thinkers over in Redmond, and we don’t mean Microsofties. “When circumstances beyond imagination are encountered, the brain must attempt to deal with the improbable and impossible as reality,” the patent reads. “Sometimes it is just too much for the individual to handle.”


Too much reality


Also at Nintendo last week, Sonics announcer Kevin Calabro went to the Redmond headquarters to deliver the play-by-play for an employee dog show. The best-in-show contest was designed to drive publicity for “Nintendogs,” the company’s new game for the DS handheld player.


“Nintendogs” allows a player to buy a puppy, care for and train it and enter it into obedience and agility competitions. We’ve played it, and admit it is addictive, but a real-life competition — complete with doggie fashion show — seems a bit much.


Hurricane scams


First comes the disaster, then come the scams capitalizing on said disaster. On eBay, the HurricaneKatrina .biz domain name, which the seller said has “extremely high search potential,” received a winning bid of $29.


The SANS Institute reported last week that there were 230 suspicious registered domains related to the hurricane. It also said e-mails were circulating describing hurricane damage and including a link to “Read more.” Clicking on the link would download malicious software.


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