Taiwan company claims Apple infringed on touchscreen patents; seeks to bar sale of iPhone, iPad

Apple Online Store“A Taiwanese company said Tuesday it had filed a complaint against Apple urging the US to prevent the electronics giant from selling touchscreen products such as the iPhone, iPod and the new iPad,” AFP reports.

“Touchpad technologies company Elan Microelectronics Corps’ complaint to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) came ahead of Apple’s launch of the iPad, a much-anticipated touchscreen tablet computer, scheduled for Saturday,” AFP reports. “The design company claimed Apple is infringing on patents regarding touch-sensitive input devices with the ability to detect the simultaneous presence of two or more fingers.”

“The patents are violated in the iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBook and Magic Mouse products as well as the new iPad, Elan said,” AFP reports. “Elan demanded that the ITC bar Apple from importing the products into the United States, which are manufactured overseas, and prevent it from selling any of the products in the United States that it has already imported. The ITC will decide whether it will institute an investigation within 30 days, it said.”

Full article here.

Tim Culpan reports for Bloomberg, “The ITC is a government agency set up to protect U.S. markets from unfair trade practices. If it agrees to investigate Elan’s complaint, it could finish its work in about 15 months.”

“Elan also sued Apple in April 2009 in federal court in California claiming infringement of the same patent,” Culpan reports. “That patent was affirmed after a California district court found Synaptics Inc. infringed that same technology in a 2008 ruling, Elan said. Elan had also claimed another patent was infringed in that lawsuit.”

Culpan reports, “The ITC claim is In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices with Multi-Touch Enabled Touchpads and Touchscreens, No. 2719, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

Full article here.

23 Comments

  1. Last I checked, Apple has been selling iPhones and iPod Touches with touchscreens since 2007. Where has Elan been since then?

    Elan is just an attention whore out for publicity right before the iPad debut.

  2. @Sarasota –

    Yeah, you wonder if these people have been living in a cave all these years. You’d expect “no” since they have tech patents ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Let’s see, Elan wants to shut the iPod/iPad in three days. The ITC cannot even decide whether to investigate until after 30 days, then another 15 months to reach a ruling. Not much of a threat for the introduction. Where will the iPad be in 16 months? Huge.

  4. They know they don’t have a chance, what this is (likely financed by another, larger, entity) is an attempt to get apple to resort to “prior art” (remember that Apple was doing tablet and multi touch R&D;all the way back to 1988 (the pad, the knowledge navigator and the newton) They actually had a prototype product very similar to the iPad waaaay back in ’89 (it actually actually included the electronic newspaper/magazine concept, but at the time they though you would get a data card (credit card sized) in the mail rather than the bulk magazine) But during the “carbonated sugar water years” their follow through (to patent) was poor.
    If they succeed in getting apple to claim this is prior art, based on it’s own published R&D;, it increases the possibilities of ripping off of Apple’s less strongly protected IP by “less creative” companies.

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