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Apple sued over iPhone, MacBook multi-touch tech

Taiwanese firm takes on Mac maker

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Hold onto your iPhones, because a Taiwanese touch-sensitive technology firm is suing Apple over claims that the Mac maker used its multi-touch patents without permission.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday with the US District Court in San Francisco, Elan Microelectronics claimed that several Apple products - also including the MacBook and iPod Touch - have infringed upon two patents it holds covering multi-touch technology.

Exactly how Elan’s two touchscreen patents have allegedly been infringed upon by Apple is still a mystery. It’s also unknown what damages or remedial action the firm is hoping the court will demand of Apple. However, it has asked the court to ban the sale of the allegedly offending items.

Apple's multi-touch products have been on the market for some time. Why has Elan waited until now to file the suit against Apple? An Elan spokesperson told the New York Times that licensing talks between the two firms have been going on for two years, but that it “couldn't find a common viewpoint with Apple” and so “we decided we had to take action”.

Elan Microelectronics previously won a preliminary court injunction against touchpad specialist Synaptics in a dispute thought to involve at least one of the patents mentioned in Elan’s case against Apple.

The two eventually reached a cross-licensing agreement, but the experience is bound to have given Elan the confidence it’ll need to take on Apple and win. ®

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