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Chipmaker sues Apple for violating multitouch patent

Apple is sued for violating a chipmaker's multitouch patent

Special Report: Apple iPad

updated:

The iPad is only days away from being released and already it's part of a patent lawsuit.

Elan Microelectronics, a Taiwanese chipmaker, filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission today, accusing Apple of using its patented multitouch technology in the iPhone, the iPod Touch and, of course, the iPad.

According to a CNET report, the chipmaker has also asked the ITC To ban the import of the Apple devices into the U.S.

The ITC complaint is an extension of a April 2009 lawsuit filed by Elan against Apple. In that complaint (PDF), Elan says that Apple "has been on notice" since early 2007 of the patent violation and continues to utilize it without authorization. Elan calls its patent fundamental to the "detection of multi-fingers that allows for any subsequent multi-finger application to be implemented." Apple, in a legal response (PDF) filed in October, denied the allegations.

In a statement, the company called a proceeding in the ITC "a quick and effective way or Elan to enforce its patent."

CNET notes that, in 2008, Elan successfully sued Synaptics over the same patent. Apple's lawyers, of course, are no strangers to patent law. Earlier this month, Apple sued phone maker HTC - which is big on Google Android devices - for violation of about 20 patents.