Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

Summary: Apple will pay $5 million to a chipmaker, following the out-of-court settlement of a patent infringement case over touchscreen patents.

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Chip and touchscreen maker Elan Microelectronics said in a statement, that Apple has agreed to pay $5 million to settle an patent infringement case.

The settlement agreement will also allow the two companies to exchange authorisations to use each other's patents.

In April 2009, Elan filed a case in California stating that Apple had infringed two of its patents. Apple countersued in the same year, claiming Elan infringed a handful of its own patents.

Apple brought the case to the attention of the U.S. International Trade Commission. The Next Web reports that U.S. Patent No. 5,825,352 was the subject of the investigation, a patent crucial to Apple's iPad and iPhone devices.

But the authority ruled in favour of Apple, saying the Cupertino-based technology giant had not violated U.S. trade law.

The same patent was also subject to litigation with Synaptics between 2006--2008; with Elan claiming the company's laptop touchpad technology infringed the patent design to be capable of "detecting multiple fingers".

Apple continues to battle a number of patent disputes around the world, following the release of the iPhone in 2007 and later the iPad in 2010. Google's Android mobile operating system has been the main focus for patent infringement cases, as the two companies battle over smartphone market share.

Apple has also come to blows with HTC. But Samsung, seen as Apple's main competitor in the smartphone and tablet market, has been under increasing pressure after it lost a series of cases in key battlegrounds.

Samsung's products have both been banned in Germany and Australia, but the company prevailed in the appeal's courts.

Apple has also been subject to sales injunctions in some countries, but stores remained open as suits are battled out in the courtroom.

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Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, Legal

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10 comments
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  • Apple - stop stealing the innovation of others

    It would be nice if you came up with something on your own even once.

    And if, as you've proven over the last few decades, you are unable to come up with your own stuff, at least pay for the technology that you take from others. That would be swell.
    toddybottom
    • RE: Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

      @toddybottom

      Well to be fair all companies seem to be doing the same thing. They all seem to be guilty to some degree. Of course my bigger issue is with the patent system itself.

      What I don't understand is this line: [b]Apple has also been subject to sales injunctions in some countries, but stores remained open as suits are battled out in the courtroom.[/b]

      If they were "subject to sales injunctions", how can they keep selling? When Samsung was barred from selling products in certain countries, AFAIK they weren't actually allowed to sell the products until the case was heard.

      Or do I have that incorrect?
      Badgered
      • I don't disagree

        @Badgered <br>"Well to be fair all companies seem to be doing the same thing."<br><br>Yes, you are right. But this one was about Apple and Apple is better, kinder, and more honest than all the others. At least that is what we've been told.<br><br>"If they were "subject to sales injunctions", how can they keep selling?"<br><br>The only incident that comes to mind was when one arm of Apple's corporate empire was barred from selling products that it didn't sell anyway. I've been trying to find a reference but can't. Apple's competitors are so clueless.

        Edit: here is the link
        http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/4/2539295/motorola-wins-german-patent-injunction-against-apple-but-its-not-what
        "But since Apple Inc., doesn't actually sell anything in Germany, it's a totally symbolic victory for Motorola ??? there aren't any products to ban."
        toddybottom
      • RE: Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

        @toddybottom they are banned from selling iPhone 3GS, 4 and iPad 1 and 2 in Germany - although they are still available in shops, as they seem to be circumventing the ban, because Apple Corporation can't sell, but products piped in by Apple GmbH can.<br><br>I know, that when I pop in a local store, they are still on the shelves.
        wright_is
    • Innovating isn't as easy as it once was ...

      @toddybottom ... an awful lot of stuff has been "invented" ... or at least patented. Makes it tough to be truly innovative these days.

      It's interesting to note, however, that Apple apparently won the case (according to the line "the authority ruled in favour of Apple, saying the Cupertino-based technology giant had not violated U.S. trade law.") yet paid a modest (for them) settlement amount anyway. Is that common? I'm guessing it's not. Then again, I don't know the details.

      Like others, I'm confused about the mention of how the sales injunctions against Apple haven't really been effective. Sounds like there's a loophole somewhere that really ought to be eliminated, in fairness to whomever brought that suit against Apple. (And I say that as a loyal Apple customer.)

      Boy, wouldn't it be great if the patent system could get straightened out in 2012?
      jscott69
      • RE: Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

        @jscott69

        "Boy, wouldn't it be great if the patent system could get straightened out in 2012?"

        I am not so optimistic. It has taken hundreds of years to get the screwed-up mess that is the current patent system. It's going to take much longer than one year to fix it.
        benched42
    • RE: Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

      @toddybottom You flip flop positions more than a 2 bit hooker.
      athynz
  • RE: Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

    Patent infringements in modern devices are sometimes accidental. Many "inventions" that are thought of as original by their inventor are unknowing re-inventions. If you've been involved in creating products, you will likely have experienced the same thing.

    What to do when this happens? You can try negotiating, and some do. But as you also may know, some people's estimation of the worth of their idea is exaggerated. That leaves it up to the lawyers.

    This happens with virtually every company that produces new technology. This is simply one of the complications of doing business.
    rickettyrabbit
  • RE: Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

    *Samsung???s products have [b]both[/b] been banned in Germany and Australia ??? *

    Samsung makes [b]only two[/b] products? Wow!

    Try this:

    *[b]Some[/b] Samsung products have been banned in [b]both[/b] Germany and Australia ??? *

    English is not Latin; position of sentence elements is still important.
    mediumcool
  • RE: Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

    Zack,
    Thanks for a good write up on this case. I wrote an article on patent infringement, and I'm going to cite this article as an example

    Eric
    http://www.ideabuyer.com/news/patent-infringement/
    EricCorl