ITC to investigate multitouch patent complaint against Apple

Elan Microelectronics files a complaint about patents, including those used in the iPhone and iPad

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Monday said it will investigate a patent infringement complaint filed by Elan Microelectronics in Taiwan regarding Apple's multitouch devices including the iPhone and iPad.

Elan on March 29 filed a complaint with the ITC asserting that Apple had violated a patent relating to the ability to detect the simultaneous presence of multiple fingers on touch devices. The technology involved is used in the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBook and Magic Mouse products.

Elan asked the ITC to issue an order barring importation of those products into the U.S. Elan also asked the ITC to bar Apple from selling any of these products it had already imported into the U.S.

Elan is alleging that Apple infringed patent number 5,825,352, which is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Elan is a semiconductor design company, which also develops products focused on touch technology.

An Apple spokeswoman declined comment on ITC's initiation of an investigation into its products.

Elan in April last year filed a lawsuit against Apple in U.S. District Court in Northern California alleging infringement of two patents, which cover a patent included in the ITC complaint. The case is ongoing, with the next hearing set for June 21 in San Francisco.

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