Elan Microelectronics, the Taiwanese touch screen maker is suing Apple for patent infringement. They claim that they have the patent for the multi touch technology that Apple is using on many of their products. Elan has also complained to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) about the infringement. The ITC in turn has ordered an investigation into the matter.
This is where the news gets worse for Apple. If the ITC find Apple guilty of the charges, they can ban the import and sale of all products which contain that technology. This would essentially mean the end of iPods, iPads, iPhones, Mac book Pro’s, etc. If a cease and desist order is given, then even the existing stock cannot be sold.
Controversy is nothing new for Apple, it has always been in the middle of a lawsuit – either being sued or suing someone else. Recently, in what was seen as a masked attack on Google and its Android software, Apple sued HTC for touch screen patent infringement. Eastman Kodak sued Apple over the iPhone and Research in Motion over the Blackberry, for patent infringement. However, the touch screen lawsuit and investigation by the ITC will be a tough hurdle to get over.
Elan, unlike its Taiwanese counterpart HTC, is extremely confident of winning the lawsuit. History is on their side; in a similar lawsuit in 2008, the company successfully settled against Synaptics. The same result is expected in California, where Elan has filed the lawsuit. Even the ITC’s investigation is expected to be sorted out amicably, with Elan probably reaching a licensing agreement with Apple.