US to investigate iPad patent suit

US to investigate iPad patent suit

Summary: The US International Trade Commission will investigate the patent claims made against Apple by Elan Microelectronics of Taiwan.

TOPICS: iPad, Legal, Mobility
The US International Trade Commission will investigate patent claims made against Apple by Elan Microelectronics, which claims that Apple's products infringe on its touchscreen technology.

Elan said that Apple's iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBook and Magic Mouse violate its patent No. 5,825,352, which covers "touch-sensitive input devices with the ability to detect the simultaneous presence of two or more fingers". Elan launched a patent against Apple last month over its claims, and has separately asked the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to forbid Apple from importing all five devices into the US.

The ITC agreed that the complaint warrants an investigation, but said it "has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case".

For more on this story, read US trade body to investigate iPad patent suit on ZDNet UK.

Topics: iPad, Legal, Mobility

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  • Patent expired in Oct 2006

    A quick search of the patent in the official website for the US Patent and Trademark Office shows that the alleged patent expired in October 2006 DUE TO FAILURE TO PAY MAINTENANCE FEES.

    In case that was a mistake, in WikiPatents you can see that the patent is nothing but a bunch of flowcharts and drawings of fingers with a few pages of very tight words but no formulas or implementations.

    A patent for just the title of an idea without any implementation is just like patenting air. This looks like somebody applied (and was granted) a patent for an abstract idea, then waited for somebody else to invent it. (FYI, I'm not claiming it was invented by Apple).

    In that case, I'm going to patent the warp engine, the holodeck, and a bunch of StarTrek technology, then claim that I created them after someone else invents it.
    • Prior Art . . .

      I'm afraid that the Roddenberry family can produce Prior Art at will dating back to the 60's . . .

      Nice try, though!! ;)
      • Early iPad

        In some of the earlier ST series there was a
        Yeoman Rand that had Capt Kirk sign some forms on
        a device that looked a lot like an iPad. I
  • RE: US to investigate iPad patent suit

    Interesting last para there wackoae. Your faith in the
    current generation is tremendous!
  • RE: US to investigate iPad patent suit

    Those guys had an 'iPad' concept for a long while.
    • Concept of a tablet/pad is very old - so what?

      I was involved in a tablet/pad project around 2000/2001. The idea
      does date back way before that.

      What any of that has to do with Apple is beyond me.

      It's like saying the mobile phone idea has been around for ages, and
      therefore Motorola did nothing new by introducing one.

      That's just stupid.

      Flying humans to mars is a very old idea too - but has anyone actually
      been able to do it? Will it be an achievement when someone does?

      What about interstellar travel, or time travel, they have also been
      thought of ages ago, so when someone makes machines for that,
      you'll say - so what, someone had a concept for that years ago?



      OK - I read your link.

      What you forgot to say was multitouch patented.

      The iPad is not Apple's first multi-touch device, Apple is not launching
      Multi-Touch now, they are launching a 'pad' style device that has their
      existing multi-touch technology.

      The question is what patents do Lemur have on multi-touch?

      Because they definitely don't have an iPad like device.
  • It's good news all round then...

    Cos it can't be Apples patents if it was someone elses prior. It's open season... HTC must be onto a winner which MUST be good news for us all.

    WooHoo... bring it on !!!
    • Only thing is... isn't. Read wackoae's post up above.

      Sorry to p!ss on your train there... lol..
      ubiquitous one
    • Assuming the patent didn't expire and is valid ....

      What makes you believe that HTC will not get hit next??

      Don't you think that a win against Apple is a green light to sue everybody else?? In fact, that is the most logical step. Next would be any Android phone .... and anything that supports a multi-finger touch screen.
  • RE: US to investigate iPad patent suit

    Could this be PayBack, from Apples suits of long ago to others? Stay Tuned Sports Fans !
  • RE: US to investigate iPad patent suit

    Actually I think that is all that is really required. If you put every circuit diagram into your patent application, which are public record once approved, then someone in China already has the blueprints to make one for use overseas. Once filed and granted, patents are a public record if you know how to look for them. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Chinese gov't didn't have people scrolling through US patents looking for something to use to beat us at our game, with our own tools.
  • RE: US to investigate iPad patent suit

    They have been experimenting with multi-touch screen
    technology since before I was even a twinkle in my
    Dad's eye decades ago. The tablet PC concept itself
    dates back at least to Apple's original foray into the
    medium some many years ago. Furthermore, Apple has
    clearly put their work in developing this technology
    to its current refinement.

    Thus, it seems ludicrous that someone is claiming
    patent infringement here. These concepts are neither
    new nor unique to any one research lab or vendor.
    Apple has put in the work in developing a cutting edge
    product. What I see here is an opportunistic corporate
    bottom feeder trying to take pot shots at someone
    else's success because they lacked the original know
    how and innovative wherewithal to create something
    like the iPad first.

    The iPad, in my opinion, is just a high tech gadget
    toy. But it is a very nicely designed little high-tech
    toy. And it is the fruit of Apple's brilliant creative
    efforts, no one else's.