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Friday, April 10, 2009
Taiwan Firm Files Patent Suit Against Apple

Taiwan's Elan Microelectronics Corp. has filed suit against Apple for allegedly infringing two of its patents for touchscreen technology.

The suit, filed in the United States District Court for Northern California, requests damages and an injunction against the unauthorized use of two of Elan's patents in Apple's MacBook, iPhone and iPod Touch products.

The patents cover innovations in touch-sensitive input devices incorporated into smartphones and computer touchpads. The first patent at issue, U.S. Patent 5,825,352, relates to touch-sensitive input devices with the ability to detect the simultaneous presence of two or more fingers. Multi-finger applications are becoming popular in smartphone and computer applications. The '352 patent is a fundamental patent to the detection of multi-fingers that allows for any subsequent multi-finger applications to be implemented. The second patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,274,353, is directed to touchpads capable of switching between keyboard and handwriting input modes.

Elan said that the lawsuit was filed after repeated licensing negotiations over a significant period of time that had failed to result in any agreement between Elan and Apple. The company said that it would continue to review the products of other manufacturers and enforce its intellectual property rights consistent with its policy.

Late last year Elan settled the lawsuit it brought against Synpatics, Inc. over infringement of the '352 patent, resulting in a license agreement between the companies. That settlement was reached after the district court in California found that certain Synaptics touchpads included multi-finger detection methods infringed the '352 patent. The court also issued a preliminary injunction against Synaptics, Inc. In reaching that decision, the court affirmed the validity of the '352 patent.

Headquartered in Taiwan's Hsinchu Science Park, ELAN Microelectronics was founded 1994 and continues to focus on the research and development of integrated circuit and touchpad module solutions.

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