Elan Sues Apple
Taiwan chip designer Elan sued Apple April 7, claiming Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch and MacBook infringe on touch-screen patents held by Elan. The amount of damages sought by Elan was not included in the lawsuit filed in San Francisco, but, at a minimum, Elan wants an injunction halting Apple from producing and selling any devices that relate to the patents.
Apple made touch-screens the foundation of smartphones with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and other makers of advanced wireless devices, such as Research In Motion with its line of BlackBerrys, have followed the trend. The touch-screen technology has subsequently moved into a number of consumer devices.
Apple had no comment on the lawsuit.
The proliferation of touch-screen devices played a major role in Elan's profits in 2008, amounting to 20 percent of the company's revenue in the fourth quarter alone. News reports said Elan and Apple had been in licensing talks for more than two years, but the two companies have been unable to reach agreement.
Elan and Synaptics, a developer of interface solutions for the mobile computing, communications and entertainment industries, had been engaged in similar patent infringement litigation before the two companies reached a cross-licensing agreement in 2008.