Apple Inc. has been sued by Elan Microelectronics for allegedly infringing two of the Taiwanese company's patents which related to touch-screen technology. "We couldn't find a common viewpoint with Apple, so we decided we had to take action," said Dennis Liu, an Elan spokesman. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco earlier this week.
It alleges that Apple products - including MacBooks, iPhone and iPod Touch - use technology that infringe on two of Elan's patents, related to their touch screen or touch pad features. Apple, as always, has not commented on the lawsuit. Touch screens are becoming much more popular in products, with iSuppli expecting the market to grow from the 2008 figure of $3.4 billion, to $6.4 billion by 2013.
Apple reported stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings in January, thanks to the sales of the company's MacBook, iPhone and iPod. Elan won a preliminary court injunction against Synaptics in 2006 over one of the patents involved in the Apple lawsuit. The two companies reached a cross-licensing agreement last year.
Liu said that the Synaptics case is comparable to Elan's case against Apple, but that the company hopes to have it resolved in less time.