If you haven't already read this elsewhere, it looks like CL is trying to enforce patents they own on Doom3, even though they have never produced any games that even use the algorithm.
Well, since CL doesn't produce games, it isn't terribly surprising that they haven't produced any that use this algorithm, is it?
The algorithm in question is a stencil shadow algorithm developed for gaming ... and, interestingly enough, it was originally developed for lighting, not audio. It is often called Carmack's Reverse, and there is a decent explanation of it here
Creative Labs decided to patent this algorithm a while ago, because they use it in the EAX sound algorithms to help shape sound effects. However, this algorithm can be used for either sound or light, and the /. article you linked doesn't give us much information about how, or even whether, CL pressued id into supporting EAX for Doom.
Carmack says "The patent situation well and truly sucks... It was tempting to take a stand and say that our products were never going to use any advanced Creative/3DLabs products because of their position on patenting gaming software algorithms, but that would only have hurt the users...' This suggests that his stance against CL is moral (and he is RIGHT!) and that he didn't want to allow CL to provide EAX support for the game because of their habit of patenting common game-dev algos. He relented, he claims, because it would not be good for gamers. Again, he is probably right ... CL has huge market share, and EAX does make games sound better on their hardware.
Sounds like they got a little pissy because Doom3 doesn't need a fancy CL card to sound good.
We don't know that. However, I would say that CL patents these algorithms in order to ensure that their products have superior market penetration and branding. When Doom3 says "Supports EAX", most users will assume that having EAX will make their gaming experience better. By holding the patent over their heads, CL can force id to integrate EAX support into the game.
Now they've probably made one of the worst PR mistakes possible. I say boycott CL. I for one will never buy any of their products again.
I doubt this will hurt them, but I agree with you completely. So much for my new Audigy purchase ... I am never buying from CL again until they release the patents for algos they didn't create and for which there is obvious prior art available. I am stunned this got by the patent board, to be honest.