A district court in Tokyo, Japan, has ordered Apple to pay ¥330 million or $3.3 million in damages to Norihiko Saito, a Japanese inventor. The lawsuit is related to the click wheel system found on a number of past iPod models. The current iPod classic uses a similar click wheel system. Saito’s company had applied for a patent that covered this technology back in 1998. Apple adopted the technology for its music players in 2004.
An injunction request was filed by Saito with Tokyo Customs against Apple back in 2007, requesting that iPod imports into Japan be blocked as his patent was being infringed upon. This prompted settlement negotiations. However, three rounds of negotiations didn’t lead to a settlement. Saito then raised his damages claim to ¥10 billion or $101 million, the figure was based on iPod sales at that point in time. However, according to the Tokyo District Court, Apple’s infringement of Saito’s patent does not warrant such a hefty damages payout. Instead, it has directed the company to pay $3.3 million in damages to Norihiko Saito. The click wheel basically combines a circle touch sensor with a number of buttons which allows for easy use with just one hand. It can be used for selecting music as well as for scrolling and fast-forwarding.