Elan Microelectronics Corp. this week announced that it had filed a complaint in the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) against Apple. Elan believes that numerous products by Apple infringe its patents and demands ITC to ban sales of nearly all products by the company. The lawsuit from the specialist in various screen technologies comes just weeks after Apple sued HTC for patent infringement.
The complaint alleges that Apple is violating Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, by importing its iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBook and Magic Mouse products into the United States, that infringe Elan's U.S. Patent No. 5,825,352. (the 352 patent). Elan also alleges that the importation of Apple's iPad products, which Apple has indicated will be available to consumers on April 3, violates section 337. Elan is requesting that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order barring the importation of those products into the United States, as well as a cease and desist order barring Apple from selling any of these products in the United States that it has already imported.
“We have taken the step of filing the ITC complaint as a continuation of our efforts to enforce our patent rights against Apple's ongoing infringement, A proceeding in the ITC offers a quick and effective way for Elan to enforce its patent,” a statement by Elan reads.
The ITC will decide whether it will institute an investigation within 30 days. If instituted, the ITC will set a target date by which it will complete the investigation and issue its final determination as to infringement and remedial orders. Elan is looking to the ITC for expeditious adjudication of its infringement claims.
Elan previously filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Northern California asserting the 352 patent against Apple on April 7, 2009 (case no. C-09-01531 RS). In that case Elan also alleges that Apple infringes Elan's U.S. Patent No. 7,274,353 (the 353 patent).
The 352 patent relates to touch-sensitive input devices with the ability to detect the simultaneous presence of two or more fingers. According to Elan, the 352 patent is a fundamental patent to the detection of multi-touch that allows for any subsequent multi-finger applications to be implemented.
In late 2008, Elan settled the lawsuit it brought against Synpatics over infringement of the 352 patent, resulting in a license agreement between the companies. That settlement was reached after the district court in California found that certain Synaptics touchpads included multi-finger detection methods that infringed the 352 patent. The court also issued a preliminary injunction against Synaptics, Inc. In reaching that decision, the court affirmed the validity of the 352 patent.