And the company
But PR -- not to mention $100 million -- isn't everything.When compared with the way other notable patent disputes have gone of late, Apple's settlement with Creative starts to look like one of the best ways to handle a bad situation: Faced with a serious threat to a core product, you get your lawyers on the phone with the other guy's lawyers, you throw some money at the problem, and you settle it -- and make it go away. And you get bonus points if, like Apple, you can turn your potential courtroom opponent into a business partner and give yourself a chance to recoup some of your settlement costs. "This is a smart move for Apple," says Scott Marrs, a patent attorney for Houston, Texas-based Beirne, Maynard & Parsons. "Someone really took a hard look at this -- and appropriately so -- and said, 'Let's focus on our future business.' "