Taipei company sues Apple over touch screen patents

April 9th, 2009 - 3:37 am ICT by IANS  

San Francisco, April 9 (DPA) Taipei-based company Elan Microelectronics has sued Apple for the alleged infringement of two of its touch screen patents in the iconic US technology company’s iPhone and other devices.
The suit was filed Tuesday in the US District Court in San Francisco, close to Apple’s Silicon Valley headquarters, court papers posted Wednesday showed.

Elan, which makes touchpads, claims it owns the patents covering the touch screen technology that has helped the iPhone, MacBook and other Apple products become huge hits.

The technology allows users to control a wide range of device functions by using their fingers to tap icons and letters on the screen, as well as to zoom into and out of images and flip them around. On the iPhone, for example, sliding two fingers together on the screen shrinks an image, while moving them apart enlarges it.

In its filing, Elan said it owned a “fundamental patent” that “governed the detection of multiple fingers on a touch pad or touch-sensitive input device to enable the detection and use of a multi-finger gestures in various applications”.

Elan won a preliminary court injunction in a similar 2006 case against touchpad maker Synaptics, and the two companies settled the suit last year.

The company asked for unspecified monetary damages against Apple and an injunction preventing the company from selling touch screen devices.

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