Elan asks trade agency to block Apple iPad imports

Touchpad maker demands ITC bar iPad, iPhone, iPod and MacBook from U.S. in patent dispute

A touchpad manufacturer that last year sued Apple for patent infringement filed a complaint Monday with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), asking it to ban imports of Apple products, including the iPad and iPhone.

In its complaint, Hsinchu, Taiwan-based Elan Microelectronics charged Apple with "knowingly and willingly" using Elan's technology in its touchpads and touchscreens, according to a copy provided today by Elan's Atlanta-based law firm, Alston & Bird LLP.

"Apple has used Elan's technology throughout its product line without Elan's permission," the complaint read, citing by name the iPad , iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and the new Magic Mouse.

Elan asked the ITC to investigate its complaint, and if it determines that Apple violated trade laws, block importation into the U.S. of all affected Apple products.

Apple is currently shipping pre-ordered iPads to customers in the U.S. for arrival this Saturday, April 3, the media tablet's launch date .

The two companies have been waging legal warfare since April 2009, when Elan filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. In the lawsuit, Elan claimed Apple's multitouch technology violated two its patents, and asked a California federal court to force Apple to pay triple damages and a "reasonable royalty." Apple later denied the charges and countersued, accusing Elan of violating three of its patents.

The federal lawsuit is currently in the discovery stage; no trial date has been set.

The technology described in the complaint to the ITC is Patent 5,825,352 , one of the two named in the lawsuit filed last year. In the 2009 case, Elan described that patent as "fundamental...to the detection of multiple fingers on a touch pad or touch-sensitive input device to enable the detection and use of a multifinger gestures in various applications."

The patent was originally issued in 1998 to Logitech; Elan claims it now owns the patent.

Apple is involved in other complaints lodged with the ITC. Both Apple and Nokia have traded ITC filings to ban imports of each other's phones, and in the case of Nokia's, prevent Apple from bringing virtually every hardware product , including iPods and Macs, into the U.S.

Apple has also filed a complaint with the ITC alleging that Taiwanese handset maker HTC violated 20 of its patents to develop and build a wide range of smartphones, including the Google-branded Nexus One , which runs Google 's Android mobile operating system.

Apple and Elan did not reply to requests for comment on the complaint.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iPadpatentsapple ipad

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?