Apple pays $5 million in patent infringement settlement

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

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.