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Apple sued over multitouch

Apple sued over multitouch

The multitouch technology used in the iPhone and iPod Touch ranges - on which Apple claims to hold a patent - is under attack by Elan Microelectronics.

Apple – itself guilty of sending threatening looks its competitors' way – is the subject of a lawsuit alleging that its multitouch technology infringes another company's patent.

Taiwan-based chip design company Elan Microelectronics is claiming that Apple's multitouch functionality – as seen on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and MacBook ranges – infringes on two patents it holds. The bold claim is bolstered by the fact that the two companies have been in licensing talks for the past two years, but Elan claims they have been unable to “find a common viewpoint with Apple, so we decided we had to take action.

Elan's decision to sue Apple comes after it convinced touchpad specialist Synaptics to licence its technology after accusing it of violating one of the two patents it now believes Apple is breaching. While Synaptics intially countersued Elan and denied any wrongdoing, the two cases were recently dropped after the pair worked on an out-of-court cross-licensing agreement.

According to The New York Times, Elan has yet to reveal its intentions in suing Apple for patent infringement – although a lucrative licensing agreement on the company's popular range of touch screen devices must surely be the primary target. So far, Elan has yet to broach the subject of damages or injunctions against sale.

Elan's move comes as Apple increases its threats to smartphone manufacturers regarding a patent it claims covers the use of multitouch interfaces on such devices. Should Elan's case be upheld in court, not only would Apple be beholden to the company for licensing, but it would mean its own patent would be invalidated due to prior art – something Apple will be keen to avoid.

Do you believe that Apple might have trod on Elan's toes with its multitouch patent, or is Elan just trying its luck after its success with Synaptics? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

16 Comments

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shigllgetcha 9th April 2009, 11:01 Quote
fecking delighted after reading the wired article on apple bullying smaller companies using pod in their name or products with cease and decist letters(i say bullying because i dont believe a small company can even afford to argue with apples legal section.

http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2009/03/apple-bullies-i.html

http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2009/03/apple-calls-leg.html

f***ing stick it to them
Pieface 9th April 2009, 11:04 Quote
Wow over anything called Pod? Formula 1 and FIA should change their Podium to just stand.
ChaosDefinesOrder 9th April 2009, 12:06 Quote
hehe this should be interesting if Apple ever stumble across my local Rocksoc's DJ listings, one of our DJs are known as "Pod Set" and refer to the house where they all live together as "Pod House", so I wouldn't be suprised if we get an email to the committee from Apple giving a C 'n' D for that... (the funny thing is, the DJs don't have or even use iPods!)
shigllgetcha 9th April 2009, 12:22 Quote
lol they dont seem like such a nice company now
wuyanxu 9th April 2009, 12:49 Quote
they are pushing their luck, there's no one company can own the multi-touch patient, it's basically capacitive touch technology.
DXR_13KE 9th April 2009, 13:34 Quote
this is becoming silly... DAMN PATENT LAWS!!!! *shakes fist*
B1GBUD 9th April 2009, 13:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pieface
Wow over anything called Pod? Formula 1 and FIA should change their Podium to just stand.

And side pods...

You may aswell include most courier's as you can also request a POD (proof of delivery).... insane!!

but anyone who takes on the might of Apple is alright in my book.
Aterius Gmork 9th April 2009, 14:05 Quote
*yawn* yet another one... getting boring, doesn't it?
Skiddywinks 9th April 2009, 14:41 Quote
I am getting sick of seeing law suits and counter lawsuits and counter counter lawsuits, but it seems like Apple may be in the doghouse this time. If they really have been in talks for the two years, and the patent isn't just a vague collection of terms, then Apple might really be in toruble here.
Blademrk 9th April 2009, 14:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pieface
Wow over anything called Pod? Formula 1 and FIA should change their Podium to just stand.

And side pods...

You may aswell include most courier's as you can also request a POD (proof of delivery).... insane!!

but anyone who takes on the might of Apple is alright in my book.

and Line6 Guitar PODs.
Ryu_ookami 9th April 2009, 14:57 Quote
So when do apple intend failing their claim against every set of identical twins in the world as their being alike as "two peas in a pod" must in apples eyes break their POD patent
proxess 9th April 2009, 20:43 Quote
or what about the band! P.O.D?!?!?!
raGe82 9th April 2009, 21:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
or what about the band! P.O.D?!?!?!

They're safe - they have dots in their name ;)
HourBeforeDawn 10th April 2009, 00:11 Quote
well I for one am glad to see Apple on the side of being sued for a change, Im so sick and tired of them going around suing everyone, I mean i know its the only way they can make money to keep their overpriced company in business but I hope they lose on this one and the other company wins...
Zippy 15th September 2009, 13:45 Quote
If you spend significant amount of money in R&D like Apple, you'd fiercely protect what you think is your own. I think this is just a game in the new global economy. The people that gain the most out of this are the solicitors/lawyers.
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