Who says patents don’t drive innovation?

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It should come as no surprise that in the light of Apple’s settlement, Creative is continuing the shakedown made possible by its patent on hierarchical menus. (Though lest you start worrying, the patent is limited in scope — it wouldn’t cover such interfaces in digital cameras, for example. That patent is held by Minolta.)

Anyway, Techdirt Mike notes a little item that I missed about the Apple settlement: “[a]lso, since some of the terms of the original agreement mean that Apple pays less if Creative gets others to license the patent, you can begin to see why Apple decided to settle rather than fight. They pay less the more Apple’s other (non-Creative) competitors have to pay up.”

Nice! A beautiful meta-Ponzi scheme: the bigger the pyramid gets, the less screwed the people at the top are. If Creative hasn’t filed for a business model patent on this, they’re missing out on a golden opportunity. And to think that this advance was made possible by our patent system — take that, IP non-believers!