January 2007 iPhone introduction (Clickwheel, mouse and multitouch slide)

Apple must pay a Japanese inventor Y300 million (about $3 million USD) for patent infringement involving the iPod’s Click Wheel, a court ordered Thursday. The inventor had asked for Y10 billion, but received far less from the court. The provisional ruling, based on sales dating back to 2004, ends a legal dispute which began in 2007…

“The Tokyo District Court on Thursday ordered Apple Inc. to pay Y330 million (about $3.33 million) in damages to Japanese inventor Norihiko Saito in a patent infringement case involving the U.S. firm’s iPod music player,” Dow Jones reported, citing the Kyodo News service.

Presiding Judge Teruhisa Takano wrote that Apple had been using the patented technology since 2004.

According to the report, Saito applied for a patent on the technology in 1998, then in 2007 asked Tokyo Customs to stop iPod imports, alleging patent infringement. After Apple asked the agency to confirm no infringement took place, Saito demanded Y100 million in damages (about a million dollars) from the technology giant.


The iPod’s Click Wheel controller permits users of the music device to scan through options with just one hand. The Click Wheel interface is still used by the iPod Classic.

According to the report, the ruling was announced just days after Saito upped his damages demand to Y10 billion (north of $100 million), citing what Dow Jones described as “three rounds of failed negotiations on a conciliatory settlement.”

  • onebyone_

    Patent trolls everywere :/ …. they just stop the real innovation.

    • Loopthree

      Ridiculous comment

      • onebyone_

        I just share my thoughts. your reply is offensive.

        Buen dia//

    • pegger1

      How is he a troll? He patented the idea in 1998, the first iPod with click wheel came out in 2001. To start he only asked to stop iPod imports. Only when Apple resisted did he ask for damages.

    • felixtaf

      No, he is the real innovator!!! Not a troll!!!

      • onebyone_

        OK. you’re right, he is the real innovator. Now, explain us why he could not add his invention to a new product and launch it to the world?, make a own company to sell his invention or enter as a partner …

      • felixtaf

        Thats a vague arguement. You know how many medical inventions are done and cant make into drug level???? Its not that easy to produce a product. May be the inventor is a guy like u and me, a normal guy with no billions to invest. There is no crowd-funding like kick-starter in 1998 and no one will be ready to spend money on this. Atleast he got recognized now!

      • onebyone_

        OK I see now, good point. (;

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        “After Apple asked the agency to confirm no infringement took place, Saito demanded Y100 million in damages (about a million dollars) from the technology giant.”

        Apple confirmed that no infringement had taken place so it’s not Apples error meaning they should not have had to have paid this money. If they had instead been informed of the infringement they could have simply stopped selling the device or looked to gain a licensing agreement.

      • Gray

        Reread your quote. They ASKED the agency to confirm it, that doesn’t mean that it was confirmed. If it was confirmed, then they wouldn’t have to pay anything. They did, however, infringe upon his patent, and that’s why they’re now having to pay him for it.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Re-read the last half of my comment:

        “If they had instead been informed of the infringement they could have simply stopped selling the device or looked to gain a licensing agreement.”

        The above did not happen since as far as I know Apple had not been informed of the infringement so were none of the wiser of what they had done wrong. The simple fact that Apple have not been made aware of their infringement until now means that the inventor of the click wheel is a patent troll as he looked to fine Apple as opposed to enter an agreement with them (for emaple how Apples infringement of the clock app icon in iOS 6 ended with an out of court settlement as opposed to a fine).

      • Gray

        You have a very misguided way of looking at things. You blame the inventor for their not being made aware? They requested information on the patent from Tokyo Customs, that doesn’t mean they get it right away. He filed the patent a long time ago, 25 years ago. That means it’s up to the agency to get the information and provide it to Apple, NOT Norihiko Saito. To call him a patent troll for something he patented at least three years before the iPod even came into existence, is ridiculous.

        The fact he gave them six years before he even filed a lawsuit means there was a huge window that he may have already been in discussion with them about it, he may have requested royalties for it. We honestly don’t know. But the fact of the matter is, he patented it, and as a result, Apple was found guilty of copyright infringement. They did the right move by requesting information about it first to confirm the patent before they paid anything, but once it was found that the patent was indeed valid, they’re obligated to pay. No big deal, just pay the man and move on.

      • Taf Khan

        The problem is that so many of these patents never get developed into products by the holder. They rules should change, for example after a period of 10 years if no movement has taken place by the holder to develop the invention in anyway then others are free to do so with a minimum amount paid to the inventor only. Idea’s are a good thing, but not when they are stuck in the system and we never see them become a reality.

      • Bill

        But that would make sense now, wouldn’t it?

      • Taf Khan

        Yes it would. It encourages development of ideas, that a good thing right? It gives us consumers products choice and improved tech, another good thing? At the point of application and approval, a timescale should be set for development along with a tariff if others use the idea after the time has lapsed.

    • And how about Apple rectangle patent?

      • felixtaf

        Okie. Apple NEVER got a rectangle patent. Thats a very bad interpretation by media. Google for Apple’s patent for iPad. It clearly says that it covers the design for iPad 1. Not a single word about rectangle or rounded edges. You can find the real patent application in web…

  • Guest

    That’s what happens when ideas on paper get granted a patent without the need for a functioning prototype…