U.S. ITC to investigate Apple after Elan alleges multitouch patent infringement

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“The sale of Apple’s iPhone and iPad in the US is under threat after the US International Trade Commission initiated a formal investigation into the company for allegedly infringing a patent covering multi-touch technology,” Mike Harvey reports for The Times Online.

“The ITC, which has the power to ban the import and sale of products, said it was responding to a request from the Taiwanese touchscreen maker Elan Microelectronics, which has a patent for technology that detects the simultaneous presence of two or more fingers on a touchscreen or touchpad,” Harvey reports. “Elan, which successfully settled a similar lawsuit against touchpad technology company Synaptics in 2008, accuses Apple of ‘knowingly and deliberately’ infringing the patent. The semiconductor design company is also suing Apple in California, alleging that Apple is infringing two of its multi-touch patents.”

“An eventual victory by Elan could lead to an exclusion order barring the US import of infringing Apple products,” Harvey reports. “A cease and desist order could also be granted to prevent Apple from selling any of the products that have already been imported.”

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Ballmer will come up with an original idea, drop 50 pounds, and grow a head full of dreads before either of those two outcomes occur.

Harvey reports, “Analysts said it is likely that Elan is seeking a licensing agreement with Apple for the multi-touch technology. Touchscreens for mobile devices have become the de facto standard for smartphones, following the hugely successful launch of the iPhone in 2007.”

Full article here.

21 Comments

  1. Buy the weasels, who apparently have never done anything constructive with the technology, fire the whole bunch at the top, with no golden parachutes, and move on.

  2. Wow, three years to initiate an investigation? I guess Elan wanted to be damn sure their accusations had merit.

    The loser in cases like this should cough up their pink slips.

  3. @MDN Take: Steve Ballmer will come up with an original idea, drop 50 pounds, and grow a head full of dreads before either of those two outcomes occur.

    Ballmer drop 50 lbs? According to the latest OSHA permits, Ballmer isn’t expected to take another crap until Friday. If there’s been a change please let me know ASAP so I can scramble an emergency response team.

    STICK TO YOUR PRODUCT RELEASE SCHEDULES PEOPLE!!!

  4. You ever notice how these suits always play the “knowingly and deliberately infringed” card? That’s because they can get triple damages if they can make that part of the accusation stick. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a patent case where they don’t allege “knowing and deliberate” infringement.

    …it just bugs me is all.

  5. ‘Counting’ what do you expect, Ballmer the ‘man’ is just such an easy target but I note that unless he is in some way synonymous it is you who actually raised the Microsoft ‘comment’, so a bit of a shot in the foot there big boy.

  6. Microsoft’s Bing/MSN Results Truly Horrifying — Loss Rate Balloons To ~$3 Billion A Year

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    Anyway, now that Apple is in throwing distance of overtaking Microsoft I expect more absurd rumours and patent infringement accusations to start crawling out of the woodwork. Will AAPL investors be smart enough to see through the BS?

    I think we’ve reached a tipping point where most of them are, now.

    The success of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and continuously rising Mac sales have poked too many holes in the ol’ anti-Apple bag of tricks for it to be all that effective anymore.

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