Apple sued over multi-touch patents

Hot on heels of the iPad launch, a Taiwanese company by the name of Elan Microelectronics is suing Apple through the International Trade Commission (ITC) over a multi-touch patent that they filed back in 2003.

Elan previously sued Apple with the same patent last year in a Northern California U.S. District Court, but is now seeking to completely block the import of Apple's multi-touch products into the US by filing with the ITC. The patent in question, No. 7274353, outlines a method for "the detection of multi-fingers that allows for any subsequent multi-finger applications to be implemented." The lawsuit is reported to encompass a wide variety of Apple products ranging from the iPad to the multi-touch Magic Mouse.

Like Apple is doing in their lawsuit against HTC, Elan is using a loophole in the U.S. patent system so that the outcome of the ITC ruling will take precedence over the outcome of the domestic lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court. Before the HTC case, Apple was previously sued by Nokia through the ITC and Apple subsequently responded by filing their own case

Elan has previously used this same patent against Synaptics in 2008. The outcome of that lawsuit resulted in settlement and a cross-licensing agreement between the two companies

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I know it's going to be impossible for companies to make multi touch without the patented technology and that's just not fair.....it's like saying all the companies that made LCD after the first one who made it, should get sued. Having said that. I think apple deserve this and more for how friggin' greedy and extortionists they are. They charge a fortune for every single product that they make. With current technology things should be getting cheaper and not more expensive each day.... I hope they get sued so much that they run out of business, that or they learn to play nice with the rest of the world. Enough of their BS!

Who cares....seriously, someone give me a hot cup of coffee so i can sue you, and then once i sue you, you can sue the makers of the coffee, who can in turn sue the coffee machine company....the list goes on.
Lawsuits have gotten to the point of utter ridiculousness.

if the US patent office can grant patent to human genes then I guess they can grant patent to anything available under the sun

firebelly said,
if the US patent office can grant patent to human genes then I guess they can grant patent to anything available under the sun

The process of how those genes were discovered is patented. Otherwise, what incentrive would there be for the scientific community to bother with research if there is no capital involved? Or how do you even do research without such capital security?

DClark said,

Otherwise, what incentrive would there be for the scientific community to bother with research if there is no capital involved? Or how do you even do research without such capital security?

This is the dumbass argument that keeps the patent system going strong. WHAT IF!?!?!? As if the economy will just grind to a halt if the government doesn't protect our "intellectual property." And yet the system was never even intended for such occurrences.

Patents were created to protect inventions, usually mechanical. Inventions which didn't not only required R&D to come up with, but were physical in nature, limited by supply, and requiring resources to duplicate so they could be sold individually. New types of patents have since been created to govern other types of inventions, yet the original concept was explicitly meant to exclude the possibility of privatizing knowledge.

This concept is still protected is some areas of the patent system, for instance teh rulings which stated that mathematical algorithms cannot be patented: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...in_ideas_are_not_patentable. However, in the case of software patents, courts fail to recognize that any software process is inherently a purely mathematical process. Areas of dissension around where to draw the line between what is legally patentable and what isn't show how flawed the current law is on the subject.

The fact is that computer science has been an efficient testing ground for what the world would be like without patents for some time now - but in large part, only big businesses are complaining. People who started out in the field without the interest, time, or money to patent their ideas, frequently having their ideas cribbed or stolen, often go on to have highly productive careers and contribute much to public innovation. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs ring any bells?

I'm going to patent a method of retribution from one party to another through the legal system. I'll show them all that they stole my idea.

I thought apple was the one who claimed to have this pantented... I think this is a stupid patent to begin with though, i mean you touch everything in real life to interact with it- i just seems like something that is very natural to any touch device- like listening to an MP3 player- you cant patent that right?

Elan is using a loophole in the U.S. patent system

*facepalm* a.k.a patent system is flawed and open to abuse gg US patent system.

I started reading the Patent, I didn't find any references to multi-touch specifically, it just seemed to be detailing the method and switching of input modes from key to handwriting. But as I said, I only started reading the patent, then part-way in, remembered why I don't read patents.

LOL - yet again, typical Neowin posters.

Apple Sued, Great
MS - Hey, you evil bugger, leave off MS

Really pretty sad, that it comes down to a football team type mentallity

evo_spook said,
LOL - yet again, typical Neowin posters.

Apple Sued, Great
MS - Hey, you evil bugger, leave off MS

Really pretty sad, that it comes down to a football team type mentallity

Apple, not MS is the one suing over what is obviously prior art and claiming it as their own, Jobs specifically asked to get the company sued what with his comments when the y went after Google by proxy by suing HTC

z0phi3l said,

Apple, not MS is the one suing over what is obviously prior art and claiming it as their own, Jobs specifically asked to get the company sued what with his comments when the y went after Google by proxy by suing HTC


Sorry, same situation with MS and they would be backed here, it does'nt matter on the background of the story or what, all that matters is that Apple is on the receiving end. At least be man enough to admit it.

evo_spook said,

Sorry, same situation with MS and they would be backed here, it does'nt matter on the background of the story or what, all that matters is that Apple is on the receiving end. At least be man enough to admit it.

What's ironic about this, though, is Apple prevents other companies from implementing multitouch in their OSes (like Android) because they hold patents on it.

Now personally I'm tired of the number of lawsuit stories in the past few weeks, and I think the whole patent system is stupid..but hey that's what it is =(

I'm so sick of seeing companies trying to own an idea they neither created, demonstrated, or even produced first. I mean, besides seeing actual demonstrated products long before the iPhone, how long before that have we seen this kind of stuff in the movies and television? LCARS? If they want to actually protect a technology, a method for achieving the end result, fine that represents product research and investment of dollars, but and old idea? This is complete and utter BS and it needs to stop (all parties).

thornz0 said,
I'm so sick of seeing companies trying to own an idea they neither created, demonstrated, or even produced first. I mean, besides seeing actual demonstrated products long before the iPhone, how long before that have we seen this kind of stuff in the movies and television? LCARS? If they want to actually protect a technology, a method for achieving the end result, fine that represents product research and investment of dollars, but and old idea? This is complete and utter BS and it needs to stop (all parties).

I'm going to have to agree on this. The amount of lawsuits that are just flying around recently is ridiculous. Multi-touch is everywhere now.

The implementation of these common technologies is what drives us forward. When electronics, or anything really, reach a state where all of them share features, somebody tries to find something different.

If we just keep suing, nobody will move forward.

thornz0 said,
I'm so sick of seeing companies trying to own an idea they neither created, demonstrated, or even produced first. I mean, besides seeing actual demonstrated products long before the iPhone, how long before that have we seen this kind of stuff in the movies and television? LCARS? If they want to actually protect a technology, a method for achieving the end result, fine that represents product research and investment of dollars, but and old idea? This is complete and utter BS and it needs to stop (all parties).

+1

I'm sick to death of the sue happy culture we seem to have. It seems that some "companies" exist solely to sue based on vague ideas they never had plans to actually do or create. I think a benefit to the world would be a international law banning copyrighting an idea.

Yup these companies make me sick as well. I feel it's kind of like thought police as they just write it down on a peice of paper and if you've thought of the same idea, you can be sued! Great one.

This is hindering produce development methinks. Hope this gets thrown out.

imachip said,
Yup these companies make me sick as well. I feel it's kind of like thought police as they just write it down on a peice of paper and if you've thought of the same idea, you can be sued! Great one.

This is hindering produce development methinks. Hope this gets thrown out.

Yes, it is very childish. They really need to stop.

If I were the courts, I would just cjurck them all out, or sue them all a million $$$'s for wasting time.
It's almost becoming fashonable to sue these days.

Mr Spoon said,
If I were the courts, I would just cjurck them all out, or sue them all a million ${0}#039;s for wasting time.
It's almost becoming fashonable to sue these days.
Let's try to get rid of the judicial framework out of the democratic system and the patent system.

Good to hear it... Was about time...

I don't have anything against Apple, but they have to much against others so... Way to go Elan Microelectronics

M_Lyons10 said,
Wow... How many more lawsuits are we going to see on multi touch?
Lots I hope. Time Apple and others pay up for stealing from me.

omnicoder said,
Honestly, they deserve it.

ok, I have the same mind but don't forget they are innocent as long as there is no evidence against them

TrOjAn. said,

ok, I have the same mind but don't forget they are innocent as long as there is no evidence against them

Lots of evidence. And no perhaps on paper its innocent until proven guilty, but in reality its 100% guilty from the start!

Edited by war, Mar 30 2010, 9:25pm :