Creative MP3 strategy scuppered by trademark dispute

Nomad lives up to its name and wanders away from Creative

A trademark dispute has forced the European launch of Creative Technology's Nomad MP3 player to be cancelled according to PCWorld.

Previously a spokesman for the company blamed the earthquake in Taiwan for the decision citing component shortages, but this later changed to a "no comment" when challenged over the trademark issue.

Although the spokesman claimed the company was "legally bound" not to reveal reasons behind the decision, PC World told ZDNet UK News that Creative had failed to register the Nomad trademark in the UK. According to PCWorld the trademark is owned by another UK company operating in the audio arena. ZDNet was unable to confirm this at press time.

PC World, which stocks MP3 players from four other manufacturers, expects the machines to be one of this Christmas' hottest products and sold out of its initial allocation in a few days. "We had Creative lined up to be one of our major suppliers, said Frank Keenan, group marketing manager for PC World, "It was very bullish and then it suddenly went very cold."

Creative recently announced it would only be selling the Nomad over the Web in the UK. It may have believed this was a way to get around the trademark dispute, thinking the location of transaction servers outside UK jurisdiction would protect it. However as Robin Byno, partner with law firm Charles Russell pointed out, "This would still be breaching UK trademark law."

With Diamond about to launch the latest version of its Rio player, and Samsung making a play with its Yepp model, this legal faux pas may leave Creative struggling to make an impression in the UK market. "It is possible that we may be missing out on an opportunity here," admitted Yan Hauer, brand marketing manager for Creative, "but this is still an immature market and we are confident that we can grab it by the scruff of the neck when we do launch a product."

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