Trademark slip ruins Creative's MP3 Christmas

Creative it may be, but prudence goes a long way in business

The Patent Office has confirmed that "Nomad", the label at the centre of the Creative debacle , is a registered trademark and as such, prevents the multimedia company from launching its MP3 player in Europe.

Creative stands to lose out on the predicted Christmas rush for portable MP3 players, but will live to fight another day according to observers.

A source said Friday that Creative has been stalling the arrival of the Nomad player for at least six months as it battled to overcome what turned out to be a trademark dispute. That a company of Creative's size would overlook such a fundamental marketing requirement remains a quandary.

Allan Poulter, managing director of trademark attorneys Markforce, agreed that a search on the Nomad brand should have been one of the first things Creative checked before announcing its intention to launch the product. "This does seem a fundamental error. Anyone launching a new product should conduct trademark searches to check if anyone has a conflicting right, it's what you'd expect a prudent company to do," he said.

Creative is still "totally committed" to the digital music market, according to Yan Hauer Creative brand marketing manager who promised Creative will deliver an MP3 product in Europe but was unable to offer a firm date.

Martin Brass, director of new media at the Media Research Information Bureau, believes that despite Creative's carelessness it still has an opportunity to establish itself, though it will be relegated to the underdog's position. "[The shops] will sell a lot this Christmas, but not as many as they think. There's plenty of room [for Creative]."

Brass believes Christmas 2000 will be the real boom period for MP3 players. Just enough time for Creative to get its homework done.

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